Not only does this pasta taste like spring has sprung directly onto your plate, but it’s guaranteed to make you run faster. Recent studies conducted in my kitchen have proven that if you eat this pasta for lunch or dinner (preferably both), you will set a new personal record within 24 hours.
I ran my second half marathon last weekend after eating this pasta for lunch — and then picking at the leftovers all afternoon because I just couldn’t resist — and dropped five minutes off my time. I attribute my success to this pasta.
I had a vision last week of pasta in a light, corn-infused cream sauce, after seeing some fresh cobs at the grocery store. I scoured the internet for a recipe that might have inspired this pressing need, but couldn’t find anything. Now that I think about it, I may have watched Ina Garten make corn chowder a few months ago. But my craving was specifically tied to pasta coated in a creamy sauce that was bursting with fresh, sweet corn flavor.
I find it easy to get caught up in adding a little more of this or that when I cook, but for this pasta I kept it simple. Each ingredient shines to create the fresh flavor that typifies spring cooking.
Simmering corn kernels with cream and white wine, until they are cooked but retain a little crunch, infuses the liquid with delicate corn flavor. Pureeing half of the sauce thickens it slightly, while still leaving plenty of whole kernels that burst in each bite. Lemon zest, parmesan, and basil keep the sweetness of the corn in check.
- 1 pound orecchiette
- About 3 cups of fresh corn kernels (from 4 medium-large ears of corn)
- ¾ cup cream
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Zest of one lemon
- ¼ cup lightly packed fresh basil (from 15-20 large basil leaves), julienned
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, divided
- Kosher salt
- Put on a large pot of well-salted water to boil for the pasta. Add the pasta to the water 5-10 minutes after you start cooking the sauce so that it can be added to the sauce as soon as it’s done cooking. Check the pasta a minute or two before the package instructs and drain as soon as it’s al dente.
- Bring the corn, cream, wine, and 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil in a large pan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the corn softens and the sauce reduces slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove the sauce from heat and puree half of it. This is easiest with an immersion blender, but a regular blender or food processor will also work. Stir in the lemon zest, basil, and ¾ cup of parmesan.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and stir well. Taste the pasta and add more salt to balance it if it tastes too sweet. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and serve.