20 Minute Corn Carbonara. This quick and easy pasta dish is filled with fresh corn and bacon, and flavored with a creamy corn-based sauce. No eggs are necessary for this spin on carbonara!
I think that other Jerseyans can relate to the fact that no matter where we travel (in this country or another), if someone has so much as heard of New Jersey, they will literally, without fail, physically recoil when we reveal that it’s our home state. It’s a universal truth. Few places are as frequently maligned as Jersey– in fact, I’m sure I don’t have to list out examples because you’ve likely got several off the top of your head. And the worst part is that, being honest, I sometimes really want to be a bit of a jerk in response. But I can’t, because that’d be perpetuating the stereotype and all.
But the thing is, really, we aren’t rude, we just do everything faster. We talk, drive, walk, and eat faster. We have short conversations and okay, sure, shorter patience. In our defense, though, we can’t make friends with everyone we meet because we’re densely packed in this state and there’s just too damn many of us. But we actually do have a lot to offer. The idea that it’s totally ugly and inhospitable here is just as dead-wrong as the belief that we pronounce it “Noo Joisey”.
Exactly zero of us say it like that, by the way.
Don’t worry, this post isn’t about to devolve into a list the (many) great things about New Jersey. That is a topic reserved for another post. I just want to say, I guess, that we New Jerseyans do things quickly, but fast can be a good thing. I whipped up this 20 Minute Corn Carbonara pretty quickly (I mean, check out the recipe name) and I didn’t hear any of my friends complaining when they cleared their bowls and went back for seconds.
By the way, New Jersey isn’t much known for it, but we have amazing corn here in the Garden State. One of my favorite things about summer is the fresh sweet corn at the farm stand down the road. Everywhere I’ve ever lived in New Jersey, there has been a farm stand within a 5 mile radius. That means corn in every dish possible once the season starts.
And while this definitely isn’t the first time I’ve thrown corn in with my pasta, it is the first time that I decided to make a sauce out of it. Yep, the sauce on this pasta is made from fresh corn! There are no eggs in this recipe (so it’s not a true carbonara, of course), but when I heard of the idea to replace the eggs in carbonara with a smooth sauce made from pureed corn and cream, I had to give it a try. For all that it lacks in authenticity, it sure makes up for in flavor.
To keep things fast, I prepare the add-in ingredients and sauce as the pasta cooks for this recipe. First, I cook chunks of thick-cut bacon until crisp, and then in some reserved bacon fat, I saute fresh corn kernels and garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant, I transfer half of the sauteed corn mixture to my food processor (a blender would work as well) along with half-and-half to create the sauce. I don’t personally think heavy cream is necessary for the creaminess or richness in this recipe, since the corn itself does so much to thicken the mixture, but heavy cream does work just fine if you have it on hand instead.
Once the sauce is smooth, I pour it into the skillet with the remaining sauteed corn mixture, add in the warm pasta, and toss it together with the bacon, parmesan cheese, chives, and seasonings until it’s perfectly warmed through and ready to serve. It’s as easy as that, and it leaves this Jersey girl with plenty of time to get all of her errands in by the end of the night.
Oh and before I forget, I served this 20 Minute Corn Carbonara with some of the Caramelized Onion and Garlic Bread that I posted here last week. The Caramelized Onion and Garlic Bread actually took a little longer than the pasta to make, but I started it earlier and got to enjoy the smell of those buttery onions and garlic the whole time, so it was worth the few minutes of extra effort. All-in-all, it was a meal that took under an hour to prepare, and one I’ll definitely be making again for friends and family.
That’s hardly inhospitable, right?
Is there a misconception about where you live? Let me know in the comments, we can unite in our stereotype-smashing. You can type it up while you make this creamy-sauced pasta and snack on “extra” pieces of bacon. You’ll have plenty of time to do it all by dinner time, after all.Print
Adapted from epicurious
- 16 ounces spaghetti
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into small chunks
- 4 ears of corn, kernels removed
- 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
- Fresh basil leaves, to serve
- Generously salt a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain.
- While the spaghetti cooks, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Pour all but about 3 tablespoons worth of bacon fat from the pan. Return pan with the reserved bacon grease to medium heat. Add in the corn and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer half of the corn mixture to a blender, keeping the rest in the pan for later. Add the half and half to the blender, Process until smooth.
- Add the hot pasta and the corn sauce to the skillet and toss together along with the parmesan cheese. Heat over medium-low heat to warm through. Season with the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste, and sprinkle in the fresh chives and bacon.
- Serve warm with additional parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh basil.