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Recipe of the Week: Creamy Sweet Corn Pappardelle

Addie Broyles
abroyles@statesman.com
This creamy corn pappardelle recipe is from "Love and Lemons Every Day." [Contributed by Jack Mathews]

Fresh corn and pasta is a summer treat, but former Austinite and "Love and Lemons" author Jeanine Donofrio takes the idea a few steps further with this recipe from her new book, "Love and Lemons Every Day: More than 100 Bright, Plant-Forward Recipes for Every Meal" (Avery, $35).

She and husband Jack Mathews moved to Chicago in recent years, but they started their popular food blog while in Austin and have since written several vegetarian cookbooks that are always bursting with color and recipes that are just simple enough to appeal to a variety of cooks but interesting enough to keep them on their toes. This dish accomplishes that with the addition of raw cashews and smoked paprika into a creamy corn sauce that coats the pappardelle or other pasta of choice.

Creamy Sweet Corn Pappardelle

My favorite thing about the summer is that sweet corn is everywhere. There’s nothing like fresh, midwestern bicolored sweet corn, and I like to use it every day while it’s available during its relatively short season. In this pasta, the sweet, juicy corn kernels paired with the “milk” from the cobs become a perfect cream sauce without using actual cream. Cashews add richness, lemon (of course) adds some zing, and smoked paprika adds a smoky depth of flavor.

— Jeanine Donofrio

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

5 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (about 4 cups), divided

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup water, plus more if necessary

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

12 ounces pappardelle or pasta of choice

2 scallions, finely sliced

3 packed cups fresh spinach

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup sliced fresh basil, for serving (optional)

Microgreens, for serving (optional)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of corn kernels and the whole crushed garlic cloves and cook until tender, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a blender with the cashews, water, lemon juice, smoked paprika, the1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Blend until creamy, adding more water as needed to create a pourable consistency. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water, then drain.

Meanwhile, wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of corn, the scallions, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach, hot pasta, the corn sauce, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, as needed to create a creamy sauce. Season to taste and serve immediately with the sliced basil and microgreens, if using.

— From "Love and Lemons Every Day: More than 100 Bright, Plant-Forward Recipes for Every Meal" by Jeanine Donofrio (Avery, $35)