I am hooked on yet another summer pasta, a vegan pesto of fresh raw corn pureed with parsley. The result is creamy and incredibly bright. Parsley is underrated. I like it for many reasons — it’s cheap, it keeps well and it adds a fresh note to dishes. Cooking the corn cobs in pasta water is a nice touch here that adds starchiness and flavor to your sauce.
2 cups dry short tube pasta (I like any whole-wheat type made in Italy, or Lidia’s brand)
2 ears fresh corn, shucked
1 large bunch fresh parsley
Zest of one lemon, plus wedges
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in large chunks
salt + pepper
hot pepper flakes
Set soup pot of salted water to boil.
Use a chef’s knife to separate kernels from cob. Hold cob at a 90 degree angle to counter over a large cutting board or even inside a large bowl. Hold knife at a 45 degree angle from cob, and just scrape down. Or watch this useful video on technique from about 1:45 to 2:00. Set kernels aside. Break cobs in half, and set in the boiling water.
Wash and spin parsley. You do not need to separate leaves from stalk.
Pulse garlic in food processor. Now add half the corn kernels with lemon zest and 2T olive oil. Pulse until pureed. Now pulse parsley until roughly chopped but not minced. Pulse in salt, pepper and pepper flakes to taste.
Remove cobs from boiling water and discard. Cook pasta until about two minutes firmer than al dente. Stir in remaining corn. Drain pasta and corn, saving cooking water. Mix pesto with about a ladle of cooking water in food processor. Return pasta and corn to pot, and toss with pesto on very low flame. Add cooking water if sauce is too thick.
Serve immediately in soup bowls. Top with the optional shaved parmesan, extra salt, lemon juice and a dash of olive oil.