One of the last summer dishes I made was centered around pasta and two seasonal vegetables that tend to be at their peak this time of year–corn and tomatoes. You may not see the corn just by looking at the final dish, but it’s there. Following a menu tasting at Little Next Door, I spoke with the chef who served ravioli swimming in a corn and butter sauce. He described how he cooked the corn down until the kernels reached its sweetest point, and that golden mixture was the foundation of the sauce. I decided to take that idea and use it as the base of my pasta dish to add a subtle layer of flavor and creaminess.
Inspired by a local chef, I pulled out my blender to create what would be the foundation of my pasta. The natural sugar and starch of the corn forms a mild, creamy coating that adheres to the noodles, almost soaking into each strand. It also binds the flavors of the roasted tomatoes and ricotta cheese. A sprinkling of marjoram adds another layer of flavor, although fresh parsley or basil would work as well. Be sure to add this dish to your Meatless Monday line-up.
- 1 pound frozen corn, thawed
- 3/4 cup milk, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound linguine, cooked
- 2 tablespoons reserved pasta water
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Place the corn kernels in a blender with 1/4 cup milk. Blend for 2 minutes. Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium sauce pan, and, in batches, pour some of the pureed corn mixture into the sieve. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to press all of the liquid through the sieve, then discard the pulp. Repeat until all of the purée has been strained.
- Set the sauce pan over low heat. Add the remaining milk, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and the garlic, and cook until thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Whisk occasionally, reducing the heat slightly if necessary.
- While the corn purée cooks, toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the remaining salt and pepper. Spread over a foil-lined baking sheet, and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly charred. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool.
- Toss the cooked pasta with the puréed corn sauce and reserved pasta water, and top with roasted tomatoes. Place dollops of ricotta over the pasta, followed by a dusting of marjoram. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and serve immediately.