Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Corn Pesto

Another farmer's market meal using succulent fresh corn and basil. There are many variations with a recipe like this, different pastas, different herbs and this can easily become a vegetarian dish by simply leaving off the bacon. Recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit August 2010 issue with a few minor changes. Traditionally pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil. Here the pesto uses corn instead of basil and the basil is thrown in for garnish at the end.

4 bacon slices, cut into Sm pieces
4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 large ears)
1 lg clove garlic minced
1 1/4 teaspoon course salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces of whole wheat pasta
3/4 cup of coarsely torn basil for garnish.

To Prepare:

Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, stirring often. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet. Add corn, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper to drippings in skillet. Saute over medium-high heat until corn is just tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of 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 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 of 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 Parmesan cheese.


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