Today’s big idea can be titled, “Pasta Water”. Once I figured out how to use it correctly, I realized I could make a pasta dish from a combination of any veggie, any pasta, and any cheese. The world was my pasta oyster. Now I want to introduce it to you!
When cooking pasta, you only need to add salt. That’s right – NO OIL. Water and oil don’t mix so it just sits on top of the water anyways – and it can later prevent your sauce from sticking to your pasta. I’ve read recently that even the water amount isn’t so big of a deal (the idea used to be that you needed LOTS of water to cook pasta). Salt, though, is a must (use the ratio of 1 tbsp. to every 16 oz). The water that the pasta cooks in, therefore, is salty and starchy. Its starchy quality makes it a perfect (low fat, low calorie) binder for your sauce – not to mention a “thinning agent” if your end result is dry or overly thickened. I always scoop out a cup’s worth of water before draining my pasta. I find it comes in handy almost every time.
This dish was so good I think I’ve told every person I’ve seen since making it about it’s deliciousness. I do realize that most people don’t feel as much passion as I do about kitchen creations, but I share nonetheless. It was sweet from the gorgeous in-season corn and salty from the bacon; the creaminess (sans cream!) was the cherry on top to create the sort of dish you could actually eat without pasta. After dishing out the pasta I scooped the little bit of leftover sauce over arugula greens – amazing.
Last tip – this is the best way to cut kernels off the cob. Small bowl in a larger, deeper bowl. Set corn on top off little bowl and hold the top with your left hand. Use a knife to cut down each straight down from top to bottom, turning until you’re done.
Creamy Corn and Bacon Spaghetti
8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
2 tbsp. butter, divided
6 slices turkey bacon, chopped
1/2 large (or 1 small) red onion, diced
3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
1/4 c. chopped chives
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
black pepper and salt to taste
Reserved pasta water
1. Boil water for pasta in large pot. Add 1 tsp. salt. Add pasta and cook until al dente – about 10 minutes. Reserve about 1 c. pasta water and drain pasta.
2. Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp. butter in a large pot or deep skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and onion and saute about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until bacon is crisp and onions are softened.
3. Add corn, 2 tbsp. chives and flour to bacon/onion pot. Stir frequently, 2-3 minutes, or until flour is dissolved.
4. Add milk and bring to simmer. Stir occasionally. Once simmering, turn off heat.
5. Add cheese and remaining 1 tbsp. butter, Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and reserved pasta water to achieve desired consistency.
6. Serve, topped with remaining chives.