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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
Top with Parmesan and black pepper and serve.