Serves 4-6 (Double for 6-8)
This is a favorite in my house—especially when corn is at its best. It’s about as easy as it gets.
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1 small-medium red onion, sliced into thin quarter moons
- 2 TB fresh basil leaves, cut in thin ribbons just before you add them to the pasta
- 1-2 small hot dried peppers, crumbled
- 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 TB sun-dried tomatoes, diced
- ¼ cup pancetta, cut into inch-long thin matchsticks (I usually buy three 1/8”- thick slices)
- 1/3 cup fresh ricotta
- 1 cup freshly scraped corn kernels (two ears’ worth)
- ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmeggiano-Reggiano)
- Zest of ½ lemon, finely grated
- 1 lb linguine or spaghetti or any other long noodle you like
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Optional: A few drops of balsamic vinegar
1. Heat to boiling six quarts of water in a large pot. Add 1 tsp salt.
2. Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-low heat, add 1 TB olive oil and then the pancetta and hot peppers. Cook slowly, patiently, stirring until the pancetta starts to crisp.
4. Add the onions, stir with the pancetta for another five minutes, until the onion is translucent and melding its flavors with the meat.
5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente.
6. When the onion is soft and translucent, add the garlic, corn, lemon zest and tomatoes to the pan and cook for another three minutes, careful not to burn the garlic.
7. Take the corn-pancetta mixture off the heat and mix in the basil.
8. Put the ricotta in a small bowl and add a couple of spoonfuls of pasta cooking water (when the pasta is almost ready) to the ricotta and whisk until creamy and smooth. Add to the corn-pancetta mixture and mix in thoroughly but gently. Add the grated cheese as well.
9. Lift the pasta when it is done, with tongs, and place it right in the pancetta pan. Place the pan on high heat for a minute and toss to mix. Add a few drops of balsamic vinegar to sharpen the flavors, if you like. Serve!