Grain Gripe

Day 3 already! Is this week flying by or what?? I guess that’s a good thing, but I’m going to be sad when my celebration of sweet corn is over. Luckily, we still have a couple more weeks to enjoy it before it disappears.

A recent conversation about vegetables left my husband more than a little disappointed. I kind of  shattered his dreams and his good intentions. I didn’t mean to, but it was time he knew the truth. The eating of vegetables is STILL a bit of a struggle in this house. We take two steps forward (he gobbles up the veggies “hidden” in my homemade chili) and then two steps back (not even two hours ago he picked every piece of zucchini and yellow squash out my delightful brown rice side dish) Overall, he has made strides and I’m very proud of him but we still have a little work to do. I am confident we will get there!

Recently, while munching on some delectable corn on the cob with dinner, Eric declared proudly: “I eat some vegetables. See! I love corn!” Nom, nom, nom.

I chuckled and shook my head as I informed him, ever so gently, that corn doesn’t count. He was pretty shocked. I think our conversation went something like this:

Mr. Frowny Face: HUH?! What do you mean corn doesn’t count?
Slasher of Good Intentions: Corn is not a vegetable.
MFF: Then what is it?
SoGI: It’s a starch, babe. A grain. Like wheat and rice.
MFF, with a look of dead seriousness on his face: I can’t believe you’re taking corn away from me.
SoGI: Sorry. Here, have some more carrots. ;)

On the plus side, it is in fact a whole grain so replacing a pasta side dish made with white flour with corn on the cob is definitely a step in the right direction, but let’s not go around stretching the truth and call corn a vegetable. A spade is a spade as they say, right?

Sorry Hubs.

Anyway, when I make corn as a side dish I typically don’t serve with it another starchy dish like rice or potatoes. That’s just…too much starch… Except when I’m feeling a little indulgent. Then maybe I pair it with pasta. And bacon. And a creamy sauce.

This Summer Corn Fettuccine is a little decadent, but it’s sweet, creamy, delicious and totally worth it. The sauce is rich and sweet and pairs well with the salty bacon and the little kick from the hot sauce. It is a bit of a once-in-a-while type meal but it feels good to indulge every now and then, especially in the summer. The fresh flavor of the corn really shines through here and the leftovers were wonderful. It’s the perfect summer pasta dish! My only note would be to reserve a bit of the pasta’s cooking water to thin out the sauce a bit so it coats the noodles better. Other than that, it’s great as written! The full recipe appears below. I cut it in half and got 4 pretty generous servings, so feel free to adjust to fit your needs!

SUMMER CORN FETTUCCINE (Recipe Source: Rachael Ray via FoodNetwork.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • Salt
  • 1 pound fettuccine (I actually used linguine, and I prefer whole wheat)
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 6 ears corn on the cob, shucked
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half-and-half or cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • A few dashes hot sauce or 1 or 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
  • 1/2 cup torn sweet basil leaves or 1/4 cup chopped tarragon leaves

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium heat. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook to al dente. Reserve about a cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet until rendered and crisp, pour off all but about a tablespoon of the fat and return bacon to skillet. Put a small bowl inverted into a large bowl, steady the corn cobs on the smaller bowl and scrape the ears. Add 3/4 of the scraped corn and any corn liquid to the pan with the bacon. Add the shallots and red pepper and liberally season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining corn and half-and-half to a food processor and puree until smooth.
  4. Pour the stock or wine into the corn and vegetables, and simmer over low heat for a minute to reduce. Stir in the thyme and corn-cream mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, to thicken. Add the hot sauce or cayenne and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Drain the pasta and add it to a large serving bowl. Pour in the sauce, add a couple of handfuls of cheese, about 1/2 cup and toss. Add reserved pasta liquid as needed. Top with torn basil or chopped tarragon and pass the remaining cheese at the table. Serves 6.

ENJOY! :)

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