Updated: Jun 23
“It’s summahhh time, and the livin’ is easy...” and so is this summery pasta recipe! This recipe is a celebration of some of my favorite ingredients of the season: perfectly ripe tomatoes, juicy sweet summer corn, and fragrant garden basil (plus a lot of other yummy stuff). The whole process starts with a batch of my tomato confit- we’ve been loving this all purpose condiment on pizzas, eggs, avocado toasts, burrata, etc... but it makes an especially tasty pasta sauce.
Confit means ”cooked in oil”- here, cherry tomatoes get slow roasted in olive oil with garlic and herbs until they burst and their sweet flavor deeply concentrates. Once you’ve made your confit, the rest of the dish comes together as easily as a gentle summer breeze.
While I’m generally l pasta purist, I do enjoy the texture and flavor of whole grain or brown rice pasta in this dish (traditional pasta would be delicious as well). I suggest sticking to a short shape with some nooks and crannies that the sauce can wiggle into- fusilli, penne, farfalle, or orecchiette would make excellent choices. Don’t forget to reserve some of the water while the noodles boil! The reserved water adds flavor and helps the pasta and sauce bind together. I never drain a pot of pasta without saving a little- you never know when you might need it!
While eating this cold as leftovers for lunch I discovered that this recipe makes for a killer pasta salad! Try serving it room temperature or even chilled as a perfect picnic offering. Tobin and I love pretending to be vegetarians a few nights a week, but if you need meat in your meal to call it “dinner” toss some grilled chicken, shrimp, or sausage into the mix. The “pasta-bilities” are endless with this summery, nutritious and delicious pasta!
prep time: 1hr. 10 min. cook time: ~30 min. serves: 4
12 oz any short whole grain pasta shape, like fusilli, farfalle or penne ( sub regular or GF pasta if preferred)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup fresh corn kernels, cut from 1 to 2 ears corn
1 batch prepared tomato confit (recipe to follow)
4-5 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
12 oz cherry tomatoes (red, yellow, or a mix)
4 large cloves garlic, left unpeeled
3 large sprigs basil
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 300°. Prepare the tomato confit by tossing all the ingredients together in a parchment lined baking dish. Bake the confit for about 1 hr, until the tomatoes are bursting. Remove the confit from the oven and let cool slightly. Remove and discard herb stems. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the soft roasted garlic out of their skins and gently mash into the sauce with the back of a fork. Set aside or transfer to an airtight container to refrigerate up to 1 week.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta in a colander and set aside.
Meanwhile, add the butter to a large sauce pot to melt, then toss in the corn. Season with a pinch of salt and sauté 2-3 minutes. Pour in the prepared tomato confit and give the sauce a big stir as you bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cooking the sauce 5-7 minutes until slightly reduced. Check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
Toss the pasta back into the sauce (still set over low heat) along with the parmesan and a splash of the pasta water. Stir to incorporate and simmer everything another 2 minutes, adding the remaining pasta water if the sauce gets too thick.
Off the heat, stir in the pinenuts, basil and arugula to wilt slightly. Serve the pasta in wide bowls garnished with more basil and Parmesan. PS- makes a great room temperature or cold pasta salad too!