Jul 17, 2020

Tomato Corn Pasta with Bacon Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
For this summer pasta, bacon is cooked in a pan and then the rendered bacon fat is used as a flavorful and rich base which is emulsified into the cream sauce packed with sweet corn kernels and heirloom tomatoes.

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For this summer pasta, bacon is cooked in a pan and then the rendered bacon fat is used as a flavorful and rich base which is emulsified into the cream sauce packed with sweet corn kernels and heirloom tomatoes. As the tomatoes cook, the sweet juices that seep out mix with the salty bacon fat. When cooking the bacon, it’s best to start with a cold pan so the bacon fat renders slowly, and the pieces crisp up perfectly.

Tomato Corn Pasta with Bacon Cream Sauce

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Cherry tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes are a small, juicy variety of tomato with a thicker skin. They are much sweeter than other varieties of tomatoes. I found heirloom cherry tomatoes though regular cherry tomatoes can be used instead.
  • Corn – I love making the most of sweet summer corn picked up from local farm stands. When buying ears corn, look for a bright green husk that is tight around the corn. Feel the kernels through the husk, they should be plump. (I like to peel back a section of the husk to double check the kernels.) Look at the tassel (the strings at the top), it should be yellow or light brown – it should have a sweet smell.
  • Bacon – The bacon is added to a cold pan so that it cooks evenly and the fat has rendered. The rendered bacon fat is used as a flavorful and rich base for the cream sauce. I like the smokiness the applewood smoked bacon adds, though it can easily be substituted with pancetta in this recipe. 
  • Bechamel sauce – Bechamel sauce is made from a roux base. Flour is cooked in butter to reduce the flavor of the flour in the sauce. It’s then simmered with whole milk to make a thick, creamy sauce for the pasta.
  • Pasta – Twisted pasta shapes like fusilli or strozzapreti, as well as shell-like shapes, are great for light creamy sauces such as this one. I like using lumache pasta though it can be difficult to find. It’s a shell-shaped pasta named after a snail shell that has a pinched end which works to trap sauce in the tubes.
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How to Make Tomato Corn Pasta with Bacon Cream Sauce

  1. Cook the bacon. Add the strips of bacon to a large sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon, reserving as much fat in the pan as possible, about 6 tablespoons.
  2. Sauté the corn and tomatoes. Add the butter and allow to melt then add the corn and cook until the kernels are tender about 5 minutes. Next, add the tomatoes and garlic, cooking, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened and some of the juice has evaporated, about an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Make the bechamel. Add the flour and stir to combine. Let the roux cook for a minute until a pale golden brown. Add the milk, stirring to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Stir in the basil.
  4. Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt and bring back to the boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Pour the cream sauce over the pasta and half the bacon, stirring to combine.
  5. Serve. Divide among warmed pasta bowls and top with the remaining bacon. Serve immediately.
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Other Recipes to Try

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Tomato Corn Pasta with Bacon Cream Sauce-17.jpg

TOMATO CORN PASTA WITH BACON CREAM SAUCE

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon cut into 1”-wide strips
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ears yellow corn kernels cut off the cob (about 2 cups of kernels)
  • cups heirloom cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • ½ pound lumache pasta or other twisted or shell pasta

Instructions:

  • Add the strips of bacon to a large sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon, reserving as much fat in the pan as possible, about 6 tablespoons.
  • Add the butter and allow to melt then add the corn and cook until the kernels are tender about 5 minutes. Next, add the tomatoes and garlic, cooking, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened and some of the juice has evaporated, about an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the flour and stir to combine. Let the roux cook for a minute until a pale golden brown. Add the milk, stirring to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Stir in the basil.
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt and bring back to the boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Pour the cream sauce over the pasta and half the bacon, stirring to combine.
  • Divide among warmed pasta bowls and top with the remaining bacon. Serve immediately.

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