In Italian, “pestare” means to grind or to pound. In this recipe fresh corn is ground in the food processor to create the base of a creamy pasta sauce topped with sweetly seared tomatoes, crispy bacon, fresh herbs and toasted pine nuts.
1Microwave 3 ears of corn in husks on HIGH for 3 minutes. Remove and repeat with the other 3 ears of corn. Let cool, remove husks and silk and slice off kernels into a large bowl.
2In large heavy skillet, over medium heat, cook bacon until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon transfer bacon to paper towel to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings reserving one extra tablespoon for later use.
3Add tomatoes and 1/2-teaspoon salt to skillet; cook over medium heat until tomatoes are lightly browned and caramelized. Using slotted spoon transfer tomatoes to heatproof bowl.
4Add reserved 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings to pan. Add corn, garlic, remaining salt and pepper and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of corn mixture in small bowl and set aside.
5Pour the remaining corn mixture into a food processor or blender. Add Parmesan cheese, 1/4-cup pine nuts and cream; process until pestare is smooth and creamy.
6Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender but firm (fresh pasta will take about 1-2 minutes). Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups of pasta water.
7Return pasta to pot and add fresh corn pestare, reserved corn kernels,1/4-cup basil leaves and parsley. Toss gently adding just enough of reserved pasta water to reach desired sauce consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne.
8Divide pasta among serving bowls. Top with seared tomatoes, crispy bacon, remaining pine nuts. Garnish with remaining basil. Pass additional grated Parmesan as desired.