Corn season is in full swing and I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy it. This is a simple variation on classic pesto but instead of olive oil and pine nuts I used corn and cashews. The cashews lend a lovely richness without masking the flavor of the sweet corn. I have been finding all kinds of ways to enjoy this sauce. I made a pizza using the pesto as a base and topped it with bacon, corn and cherry tomatoes and it is amazing with grilled fish. The corn I’ve been getting from the farmers market has been so sweet and fresh that I didn’t need to cook it before adding it to the pesto. If your corn is a little starchy cook it for a few minutes in a pot of boiling water before adding it to the pesto. Visit me during the rest of the week at www.scalingbackblog.com for more recipe inspiration.
Pasta with sweet corn pesto
1 cup raw cashews
3 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 4 large ears)
1 garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti or fettuccine
½ cup freshly torn basil leaves for garnish
If needed bring a large pan of water to a boil over high heat and cook the corn for 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Soak the cashews in enough water to cover for at least one hour or up to overnight. Drain the cashews and add the bowl of a food processor or high-speed blender. Add 2 cups of the corn, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and olive oil to the cashews. Process on high for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy adding a little water to thin as necessary.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the pesto, reserved cup of corn kernels and heat through over medium heat until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the pasta with a sprinkle of basil leaves.