Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spinach Fettucine with Corn Pesto

Last night’s Emmy Awards meant celebrating great television (Yay, Modern Family!) and, for me, hosting my friends for a potluck dinner. Fresh corn is still in season and I grabbed a few ears from the Union Square Greenmarket for this nontraditional pesto recipe from bon appétit magazine. I modified the original to take out the meat and skip the pine nut toasting. You can prep the pesto ahead of time if you need to keep the counter clear of a hulking food processor, like I did.

Makes 4 servings
4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 4 large ears)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp coarse sea salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces spinach fettuccine
3/4 cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided

Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large nonstick skillet. When the oil is hot, add corn, garlic, salt, and pepper to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until corn is just tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 cups corn kernels to small bowl and reserve.

Scrape remaining corn mixture into processor. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan and pine nuts. With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth. Set pesto aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking liquid.

Return pasta to pot. Add corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, and 1/2 cup basil leaves.

Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil leaves and reserved bacon. Serve pasta, passing additional grated Parmesan alongside.

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