This recipe is geared towards a wintertime meal when fresh corn is not readily available and canned corn is. Creamed corn pasta is one of the first things I made for my fiancée when we started dating. Years later she confided in me that the idea of creamed corn pasta scared her a little bit, but after a plateful it became one of her favorite pasta dishes. The sauce is very rich, so unless you’re a pasta fanatic like my fiancée, I would serve it as an appetizer.
Yield: An appetizer portion for 6 adults.
1 lb. bowtie pasta
3-15 oz cans whole kernel corn, drained, reserve the juice for later
1 cup finely diced onion
4 cloves peeled garlic (about 4 tsp.), finely chopped
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup shredded or shaved parmesan cheese plus a little extra for garnish
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp. minced chives
Kosher salt, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
For the pasta
Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil with 7 tsp. of kosher salt.
Start with the sauce while the water is coming up to a boil.
Once the water boils add the pasta and stir occasionally until it’s cooked to your liking.
Drain it well, add it back to the pot you cooked it in and stir in the olive oil. Keep it covered and stir it once in a while so it doesn’t stick.
For the sauce
Heat a large skillet on low heat. Melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter and add the onions.
Cook onions on low until tender. Add garlic and cook for one minute.
Turn the heat to up to high and add the drained corn. Saute the corn until it is dry and has a slightly nutty flavor. This will take at least 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Add the cooked corn to a blender and add enough of the reserved juice to just cover the corn. ONLY FILL THE BLENDER HALFWAY. START IT ON THE LOWEST SETTING AND LOOSELY COVER THE TOP WITH A TOWEL SO IT DOESN’T COME SHOOTING OUT OF THE TOP. Puree until it is totally smooth. You may have to do this in a few batches depending on the size of your blender. You can also put everything in a bowl and use a hand blender if you have one.
Transfer the pureed corn back to the skillet and turn the heat to low.
Add the remaining butter, cream and 1/4 cup parmesan. Season well with Kosher salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook on low until the cheese is melted. The sauce should be a little runny. The starch from the cooked pasta will thicken the sauce quite a bit. Thin with any reserved corn juice or water if necessary.
Toss the sauce and pasta together and plate it up. Garnish the top with parmesan and minced chives.
Throw in a sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary in the sauce if you have any. Let it swim around for a little to impart some fresh herb flavor.
Cooked bacon, chopped ham and thinly sliced prosciutto make for great additions to this pasta.
Try substituting Pecorino, queso fresco or ricotta salata for the parmesan in this dish.