Sometimes the best things are the most simple. Like snuggling up in a blanket on a blustery, winter day. Or soaking in the sun while you wait for a friend to arrive. Or eating this pasta, with only a few ingredients and lots of flavor.
Roasted corn is awesome. Whether you use a grill or your oven, giving the yellow and white kernels a little extra love and char suddenly adds a deep smokiness to an already sweet ingredient.
And because of its texture, taste, and creamy quality, it pairs incredibly well with tacos, soups, on top of fish and chicken, and of course salads.
But pasta? I hadn’t considered it in pasta.
Sure, a cold pasta salad.But hot pasta–now that’s a whole different situation.
Hot pasta means roasted tomatoes and peppers. Powerful herbs. Leafy greens. And much heavier flavors that could quickly overpower the corn.
Here’s the thing though. Remember that corn is naturally milky. And when combined with all the traditional pasta elements (and of course some good olive oil or browned butter), that summery kernel gives warm pastas a creamy pop, like a shot of white sauce. Which makes me think…a creamy white corn sauce would be an awesome cheese sauce substitute…now isn’t that a good idea.
But I digress. Back to the pot of boiling noodles.
I decided to go with this idea–the corn pasta–and pair it with other twists on traditional pasta ingredients.
In place of tomato sauce, I used roasted red peppers. Instead of spinach, I used finely chopped Brussel sprouts. And instead of red onion, I used shallots for a milder savory kick.
For extra heat, I also threw in some chopped cayenne and jalapeno. And as for the noodles, definitely use a thick variety with grooves. You want those nooks and crannies to scoop up all the pepper juices and corn cream.
And because most of the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time (roasting, charring, noodle cooking), everything (including the brussels sprouts) can be quickly heated in a pan right before serving. That way, the greens stay bright and the flavors stay fresh.
With a few pinches of freshly ground black pepper and an extra drizzle of olive oil, you’re ready to eat.
So remember pairing unlikely ingredients in unlikely ways is an easy means of wowing your palate and creating lots of zing without salt.
And as always, chow on.
- 2 to 3 red bell peppers, stem and seeds removed
- 3 cups of frozen corn (or fresh from the cob)
- 6 big handfuls of dried noodles
- 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, stems removed and thinly sliced (22mg sodium per cup)
- 1 jalapeno and 1 cayenne pepper, optional
- Freshly ground black pepper