Friday, August 20, 2010

Easy Summertime Dinner: Fettuccine with Fresh Corn Pesto

I'm in denial that it's late August already, which means that summertime is coming to an end. Where did it go? I haven't even been to the beach a single time this summer! I'm going to try to make the most of the few remaining weeks we have left. And of course that includes eating all the fresh sweet corn, watermelon, peaches, and zucchini I can manage. The August issue of Bon Appetit magazine was really inspiring, because it includes entire menus centered around corn, zucchini, and tomatoes, making the most of your fresh summer produce. I was definitely intrigued by their recipe for Tagliatelle with Fresh Corn Pesto, and knew I had to veganize it. It turned out great!

With the creamy pesto and bits of tempeh bacon, this dish certainly calls to mind a pasta carbonara, but without all the eggs, the cheese, and the pork, this version is so much lighter, healthier, and full of fresh summer flavors. It's a perfect dish for dining al fresco. Now, if only I had a yard so we could dine al fresco...

Fettuccine with Fresh Corn Pesto
makes 4 servings

4 tempeh bacon slices (I like Lightlife), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 3 large ears)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
3/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1/4 cup grated vegan Parmesan, plus additional for serving
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. fettuccine or tagliatelle
1/2 cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided

1. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Cook tempeh bacon pieces in oil until browned and crisp (I cooked them a little longer than I normally would if I was eating them plain). Transfer bacon pieces to a small plate and set aside, but leave remaining oil in pan. Add corn, garlic, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke to skillet. (The original recipe cooks the corn in the leftover bacon grease, so the liquid smoke helps to replicate that bacon-y flavor.) Saute over medium-high until corn is just tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer 1/2 cup corn kernels to a small bowl and set aside.

2. Scrape remaining corn mixture into a food processor. Add Parmesan and pine nuts. With the processor running, pour olive oil through the feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth.

3. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water. Return pasta to pot, add pesto, reserved corn kernels, and 1/4 cup basil leaves. Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls until it reaches desired consistency. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

4. Transfer pasta to a serving dish, top with remaining basil leaves and reserved tempeh bacon. Serve with additional Parmesan if desired.


  1. Love this recipe! I just did a similar dish with some roasted corn this week... and I loved it! Such a wonderful summer dish.

  2. That looks lovely and just in time for me, we're having summery weather even though it's still technically winter here!