Tagliatelle With Fresh Corn Pesto

Tagliatelle With Fresh Corn Pesto (recipe by Bon Appétit, August 2010)

It’s not even August 1st and yet I’ve almost had my culinary fill of fresh corn for the season. My friend John noted that “you have to pace yourself.” Still, corn pesto sounded very enticing, and the recipe description said “the dish has a creamy richness that’s reminiscent of carbonara” but without the cream. John had also shared with us corn he had just purchased from a secret vendor in Cuba City, Wisconsin, so I had good reason to use up some of the best corn around.

My partner David loved the pasta dish, but for me the amount of pine nuts was overwelming. If you are in the mood for adventure, it is worth trying, but I doubt I would make this one twice.


  • 4 bacon slices, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 large ears)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine
  • 3/4 cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided


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 teaspoons coarse salt, and 3/4 teaspoon 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.

Prep Tip

I recently learned an easy way to take corn off the cob from a Paula Deen “how to” video. Stand the corn cob up and put the tapered (or smaller) end into the hole of a bundt pan and slice the corn off. Most of it (but not all) will fall into the bundt pan. Be careful not to nick up your pan though.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to review: michaelwbeyer@hotmail.com

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