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Pasta with Chicken Chorizo and Corn Pesto

August 17, 2010

The recent Bon Appetit featured recipes designed to use up the end of summer produce you want to eat a ton

chorizo with corn pesto

of, but usually run out of time.  One of those is corn, and it makes me sad to think endless supplies of that, and tomatoes, are coming to an end.  This recipe is one to make while you still have the chance.  I modified it a bit, swapping out chicken chorizo for the bacon, and adding some freshly shelled peas I had for more color, and swapped the pine nuts for cashews because they’re cheaper, and I thought the sweetness would complement it.  If you wanted to make it vegetarian, skip the chorizo all together and just use some oil to sautee the corn.  You could sprinkle on some smoked paprika for a smoky finish.  This recipe from Bon Appetit serves 4.


3-4 chicken chorizo sausages (depending on how meaty you want it)

4 c fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 large ears)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/4 t kosher salt

3/4 t black pepper

1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1/3 c cashews, toasted

1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil

1 package tagliatelle or fettuccine

3/4 c coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided

1/2 c fresh peas, blanched (optional)


Remove chorizo from casing and brown in a skillet over medium heat, breaking it up into bite-size pieces.  Using slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and set aside.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of drippings from skillet, or add a bit of olive oil to make 1 tablespoon.  Add corn, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to the skillet.  Sauté over medium-high heat until corn is just tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 cups corn kernels to small bowl and reserve. Scrape remaining corn mixture into processor. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan and cashews.  With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth. Don’t worry if it seems thick, you will add pasta water to thin it later.  Set aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water.  Return pasta to pot and add corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, chorizo, optional peas and 1/2 cup basil leaves. Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil leaves and additional grated Parmesan.

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