Creamy Corn Pasta Bake
Fresh sweet corn and cream make every bite the best bite!
This is the dish to make when you have so much fresh, sweet (end of) summer corn that you simply don't know what to do with it all. Corn kernels off the cob are poached in cream and pureed to velvety perfection. Al dente rigatoni is combined with the corn puree, fresh ricotta, parmesan, and some sautéed fresh corn kernels. Basil oil is drizzled for a pop of flavor and color. Enjoy the pasta as is, or place it in a casserole with tears of mozzarella to bake. Any way you serve it, this dish is sure to please!
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; rubber spatula; saucepan; blender or food processor; large saucepan or stockpot; strainer or slotted spoon; sauté pan; wooden spoon; casserole (optional)
7 ears fresh corn
2 cups light or heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
2 pounds rigatoni 16 ounces fresh ricotta cheese 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups fresh mozzarella pieces
basil oil for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. First prepare the corn puree. Remove the corn kernels from five of the seven cobs, and place in a saucepan with the heavy cream over medium-high heat. Once the cream starts to bubble and comes to a simmer, turn the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the corn kernels from the remaining two cobs and set aside. Transfer the poached corn and cream in the blender or food processor. Season with the kosher salt and white pepper, and puree until smooth. Set aside.
3. In a large saucepan or stockpot, bring salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta according to package instructions to al dente. Strain but do not rinse the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot in which you cooked it and pour in the corn puree.
ILOC tip: it's important to cook the pasta to al dente to achieve the perfect texture in the finished dish because it will bake in the oven and continue to cook.
4. Stir in the fresh ricotta and the parmesan. Mix well to coat. Set aside.
5. Heat the butter in a sauté pan. Once bubbling, add the fresh corn kernels reserved from the final two cobs and cook for 30-60 seconds to lightly cook the corn. Add the sautéed corn kernels to the pasta mixture.
5. Pour half the pasta into a casserole. Top with 1 cup of torn mozzarella. Drizzle with basil oil. Pour the remaining half of pasta into the casserole, add the remaining mozzarella.
6. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Drizzle with more basil oil. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 main-course servings.