I have to confess….I am not a big fan of Sweet Corn. Please don’t judge me my friends! Immediately when the first crop of LOCAL SWEET CORN corn shows up at the markets, you’ll most likely see mobs of people standing in line buying bags and bags of corn. Confession…..not me!
I buy 2 or 3 ears. No kidding! The farmers kind of look at me weird, but I have to be honest, I am not that big of a fan 0f corn on the cob.
However, every year both my husband and I look forward to the first crop of corn because this recipe is AMAZING! I never in my wildest dream would have put corn with pasta! Why would I? Number one, neither are my favorites. And number two, pasta is Italian and corn is American. Put the two together, probably not a good idea for authentic Italian cuisine. Good thing I don’t care!
Besides, Judy Rogers, author of THE ZUNI CAFE COOKBOOK, convinced me otherwise! Now I make this pasta dish in one form or another, several times in June when corn is at it’s finest….young, juicy, and sweet.
Shame on me for not sharing this recipe earlier but if you can find some yummy, juicy, sweet, non GMO corn…or if you froze some with all those milky juices from the cob, than I encourage you to try this! I was at the market today and there’s still fresh sweet corn so you have no excuse….make this!
When purchasing corn, do your best to look for young ears with small kernels. You’ll get less corn per cob, but the quality will more than make up for it I promise.
Fat, full kernels tend to be tougher, dry and starchy. TIP...use more butter if your corn seems a bit drier, But what’s wrong with more butter right? Trust me on this one, do not use olive oil, the flavor will be disappointing.
I have used coconut ghee which is a healthier option so if you’re concerned about the amount of butter, try my secret….coconut ghee! Either way, butter, ghee, or coconut ghee are way better choices here vs. olive oil.
Don’t forget the fresh sage! I love fresh sage, dried not so much. There is such a difference so no substitutions here please.
I decided to use some good quality Pancetta this time around which is what I love about this recipe. You can switch it up each time you make it. I can’t say one is better than the other but I am open to hearing your opinion. My favorite version happens to be the one I am making. Seriously, they’re all good?.
Most often I add a Parmigiano-Regiano, but its just as delicious without. You can also add a little cream at the end. Or use prosciutto in lieu of the pancetta, but most often I leave the meat out. Add a handful of fresh sweet peas for color for another delicious variation. We love it with sweet beans which adds more protein. You be the judge….recipe adapted from Zuni Cafe Cookbook.
FOR 4 OR 5 SERVINGS
- 2 1/2 cups freshly scraped corn kernels & their milky juices (about 6 sm. ears)
- Up to a half pound of butter (or 2 sticks) or use coconut ghee like I did
- 2 to 3 oz pancetta, cubed (optional)
- 6 sage leaves, coarsely chopped (I love sage so I used lots more)
- 1 lb. fresh egg pasta, preferably linguine (I used brown rice pasta)
- salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp Parmigiano-Regginao
- Using a knife, slice the corn kernels off of the ear into a bowl. Then, run the back of the knife at a 45 degree angle to the ear to force out all the starchy liquid. Combine the liquid and the corn.
- Boil water for the pasta and cook until slightly underdone. Reserve pasta water.
- Cook the pancetta in a few tablespoons of the butter or ghee over medium heat. Be sure to stir and scrape to cook evenly. When pancetta has browned slightly on edges, turn off the heat and add a few drop of water to cool the pan. Stir and add more butter, sage and some freshly ground black pepper. Swirl the pan, leave the aromatics to infuse in the melting butter for several minutes.
- Add 6 tablespoons of butter and turn heat back to medium. When the butter is melted, add the corn and liquid. Cook until warmed through and the liquid in the pan thickens slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add cooked pasta to the corn mixture and toss. Finish cooking the pasta with the corn. Add a touch of cream and a some pasta water to desired consistency.
- Off heat, add Parmesan cheese and re-taste for seasoning.