Recipe: Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Corn & Parsley Pesto

Recipe: Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Corn & Parsley Pesto

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

For me, transitioning into cooler weather means spending more time in the kitchen again after a long hot summer spent avoiding the oven. Once there's a slight chill in the air, I get excited about devoting more time to meal-making.

A warm bowl of pasta is always an easy, cold-weather comfort food and this hearty whole wheat spaghetti is exactly what I want right now. It's coated in an herby pesto and speckled with the last of summer's sweet corn — exactly the right dish to carry me into fall.

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

Throughout the year, I use mounds of fresh herbs in my cooking — bright, sweet ones in the summertime for salads and salsa, and then woodsy dry varieties for wintry soups and stews. Parsley is an herb for all seasons. It's readily available year-round, budget-friendly and incredibly versatile.

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

Peppery parsley, toasted pine nuts, sharp pecorino and velvety olive oil are blended into a creamy, cheesy pesto that can be drizzled over roasted veggies, served as a dipping sauce, or the obvious and most delicious choice: tossed with spaghetti.

Nutty, whole wheat pasta works really well with the sweet corn kernels and salty pecorino. If sweet corn is no longer in season where you live, you can substitute frozen kernels. This dish is a quick weeknight dinner for early autumn that's both filling and delicious.

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

Spaghetti with Corn & Parsley Pesto

Serves 4 to 6

For the pesto:
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano, plus extra to serve
4 cups parsley leaves (tightly packed)
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the pasta:
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fresh or frozen corn (from 4 ears of corn; defrost frozen corn before using)

Prepare the pesto in a food processor. Start by pulsing the toasted pine nuts until coarsely ground. Add the pecorino, parsley leaves, and olive oil. Pulse a few times, scrape the bowl with a spatula and pulse a few more times, making sure not to over-blend the pesto. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil for the pasta in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced shallots to the pan, and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute, or until soft and fragrant. Add the corn kernels and a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don't over cook the corn — you want some crunch!

Strain the spaghetti, then transfer it back to the pot. Add the pesto and toss to coat. Fold in the corn mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with extra grated pecorino on top.

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