Dinner Tonight: Pesto Fusilli with Corn, Zucchini, and Bacon

When summer produce peaks, the best way to celebrate is to do as little cooking as possible. Conveniently, summer heat is also a good impetus to avoid, at all costs, the oven or anything related to stewing, braising, or roasting. Trips back from the farmers' markets often just require a large salad bowl, olive oil, and lemon juice. When cooking does occur, it's usually just to boil water for pasta.

This recipe follows these important summertime rules. It's a twist on the straightforward pasta-with-pesto dish, but summer corn sweeps in to add morsels of sweetness, while zucchini brings crunch, and bacon provides a full savory flavor. It's a nice change, and deliciously light—omit the bacon and add olive oil for an even lighter outcome.

About the author: Blake Royer lives in Brooklyn and spends most of his free time cooking and writing about it here at Serious Eats and on The Paupered Chef. From 9 to 5 weekdays, he works as an assistant book editor in Manhattan.

Dinner Tonight: Pesto Fusilli with Corn, Zucchini, and Bacon

About This Recipe



  • 3 slices bacon, chopped roughly
  • 1 pound fusilli or other short pasta
  • 2 ears corn, kernels cut from cob
  • 2/3 pound zucchini, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Basil pesto to taste
  • Parmesan to top


  1. 1

    Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon until browned but not too crisp. Drain some of the fat, leaving a bit to coat the pasta.

  2. 2

    In the meantime, bring a large pot of salty water to boil. Cook the pasta, adding the vegetables for the last couple minutes to blanch. Reserve some pasta cooking water.

  3. 3

    Drain the pasta with vegetables and add them to the skillet. Add pesto until everything is well-coated. Use the pasta cooking water to loosen and avoid dryness.

  4. 4

    Top with Parmesan and black pepper and serve.


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