A tangle of pasta. Dolloped with fresh corn kernels, basil leaves, and soft cheese. All lavished with a naturally sweet corn sauce that’s creamy yet not heavy in the least.
If that dish doesn’t say summer, what does?
And if that doesn’t get your mouth watering, what will?
When the folks behind the Bay Area’s Farm Box company delivered one of their stellar produce boxes over the weekend, it’s no surprise that’s the dish I was inspired to make first.
Farm Box is a weekly curated farmers market box that customers can get delivered to their door or pick up at the Ferry Plaza farmers market on Saturdays or the Menlo Park farmers market on Sundays. The company was co-founded by Andreas Winsberg, son of David Winsberg, who owns Happy Quail Farms in East Palo Alto, a premier grower of peppers, including the beloved pimentos de Padron.
In fact, this particular box, which I received last Saturday gratis for a test run, was a sneak preview of the one that will be available for pickup or delivery this coming weekend.
Besides three ears of corn from G&S Farms and basil from Everything Under the Sun, which was put to good use in this pasta dish, the box also included: first-of-the-season Morettini pears from K&J Orchards, carrots from McGinnis Ranch, cauliflower from Greenthumb Organics, yellow peaches from Kashiwase Farms, baby potatoes from Little Organic Farm, cranberry beans from Iacopi Farms, mint from Oya Organics, a head of romaine from Star Route Farms, and a bag of coveted dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes from Dirty Girl Farms that are as sweet as candy.
This large box, more than enough to feed a family, is $55, while a smaller one to feed one to two people is $35. For the delivery option, there is a $20 fee.
There are even optional items to add for an additional cost, including artisan jams, breads, bacon, granola, and an indulgent little 3-inch cheesecake by Crumble & Whisk Patisserie ($15).
Now’s the perfect time to try Farm Box for yourself. Get $10 off your first order with the coupon code: FOODGAL10.
Order this coming weekend’s produce box and enjoy making this easy “Creamy Corn Bucatini” as I did from the cookbook, “Bowls: Vibrant Recipes with Endless Possibilities” (2019) by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.
There’s just something extra homey and comforting about eating food from a bowl, as opposed to a plate. It just makes you want to dig in more. This cookbook includes 75 bowl-friendly recipes, everything from “Seared Tuna Poke Bowl” and “Steakhouse Salad Bowl” to “Thai-Style Hot and Sour Soup” and “Egyptian Barley Bowl.”
This pasta dish calls for bucatini, but you can substitute spaghetti easily. The sauce is simply corn kernels simmered briefly in milk. The mixture is then pureed until smooth in a blender, and passed through a sieve. (You keep the liquid, but discard the solids. However, my husband with his frugal Asian ways, decided to form the spent corn mash into little pancakes to pan-fry in a little butter. The patties had a slight fibrous texture, but actually tasted great with intense corn flavor. So if you cringe at throwing anything away, try this.)
The boiled noodles finish cooking in the corn sauce, where every strand gets coated beautifully. Additional whole corn kernels get strewn over the pasta, adding pops of bright crispness throughout. Finally, the pasta is garnished with basil and ricotta. I actually used chevre because that’s what I had handy, and it proved a wonderful substitute, adding a subtle tang that married with the naturally sweet taste of the corn and whole milk.
This is a dish that will definitely bowl you over.
Creamy Corn Bucatini (Or Spaghetti) Bowl
2 1/4 cups thawed frozen corn kernels or fresh corn kernels cut from about 3 ears, divided use
2/3 cup whole milk
6 ounces bucatini or spaghetti
1/4 teaspoon table salt, plus salt for cooking pasta
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 ounces (1/3 cup) whole-milk ricotta cheese or soft goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Bring 2 cups corn and milk to simmer in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Carefully transfer corn and milk to blender and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Process until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed. Strain corn mixture through fine-mesh strainer into now-empty skillet, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until pasta is flexible but still firm, about 5 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.
Stir pasta, 1/2 cup cooking reserved cooking water, salt, and pepper flakes into corn mixture in skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until pasta is tender and well coated, 3 to 5 minutes. Adjust consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among individual serving bowls, then dollop with ricotta or goat cheese, and sprinkle with basil and remaining 1/4 cup corn, and serve. (Note: If using thawed frozen corn, cook the reserved 1/4 cup kernels in the microwave until steaming and tender before garnishing the cooked pasta.)
Adapted from “Bowls” by America’s Test Kitchen
Dishes Made From A Previous Farm Box Delivery: Stir-Fry Udon Noodles with Eggplant, Portobello Mushrooms, Thai Basil, and Celery Leaves
More Corn Recipes to Enjoy: Grilled Lime Chicken with Creamed Corn