I might be nearing the point of needing a corn intervention. I've been obsessed with it all summer, and I don't have any plans of stopping. We've been enjoying it in our dinners at least twice a week, whether it's straight-up corn on the cob or incorporating it into other dishes... like crab cakes, pizza, risotto... and now into this pasta dish. I even have a dessert in the works. Things are getting mighty crazy up in here!
So this pasta embodies everything I love about summer dinners. It was super fast - allowing for maximum outside time both before and after dinner. It didn't require many dishes to wash, or ingredients to buy. You don't have to turn on the oven. It has bacon (although let's be honest - that makes a good meal no matter what time of year it is). And finally, it's full of peak-season produce.
The bacon is quickly cooked, then corn is toasted in the rendered bacon fat. Cherry tomatoes are thrown in for good measure, and the whole thing is finished with some Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and a squirt of lemon juice.
I was a little worried that it wouldn't really seem like a cohesive dish without a true sauce - I didn't want pasta with just random ingredients thrown in. But as the cherry tomatoes cook, some will burst, and that plus the pasta water and Parmesan cheese form a super flavorful sauce. And these cute little corkscrews were perfect for trapping the corn kernels and bacon bits - maximum flavor in each bite!
School is starting in the next few weeks, and I know that weeknights are super busy. Making this a great dinner to put on the table for your family. Because whether you're trying to make the most out of the last vestiges of summer, or gearing up for a busy fall, this pasta dish will meet all your criteria.
Pasta with Bacon, Toasted Corn, and Cherry Tomatoes
adapted from America's Test Kitchen, Pasta Revolution
serves 4 to 6
- 8 slices of bacon, chopped
- 4 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 lb medium pasta shape
- 2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup), plus extra for serving
- juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1-2 Tbs)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate, and drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Add the corn, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook until the corn is toasted and spotty brown, 7-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often, about 3 minutes, or until they are slightly softened and starting to burst.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, then stir in the pasta. Return to a boil and cook until al dente, stirring often (I usually cook it 1-2 minutes less than the recommended time on the box).
Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the saucepan. Stir in the bacon, corn and tomato mixture, Parmesan, basil, and lemon juice. Add the reserved pasta water a little at a time to adjust the consistency as needed. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Divide among serving bowls, and pass extra parmesan at the table.