As soon as I saw this recipe on Food52, I knew I had to make it STAT. Delicious veggies mixed with delectable orecchiette pasta presents a unique flavor and texture combo. Alexandra Stafford contributed this recipe to Food52. She found the recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables and made a few adaptations.
And, as I've mentioned before with my salmon and kale recipe, I've been enjoying picking recipes that utilize an ingredient I have never cooked with before. In this case, creme fraiche, was new to me. It is similar to a sweet greek yogurt. I had to ask a Whole Foods employee where the heck creme fraiche was to be found in the store, now I know.
I love the suggestion to add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pasta while it is in the strainer - this really helped add flavor to the pasta while keeping the noodles from sticking together.
I love recipes with basil, so I added a bit more than the recipe called for - in my opinion, there is never enough basil.
This a very do-able recipe that you would be proud to serve at a dinner party.
Toasted Orecchiette with Zucchini, Corn and Creme Fraiche
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- 12 ounces orecchiette
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 4 to 5 small zucchini small diced to yield 4 cups
- 2 ears of corn shucked, kernels removed
- 2 cloves garlic finely sliced
- ¼ cup crème fraiche
- ½ cup basil finely sliced
- Freshly cracked pepper to taste
- Lemon for serving optional
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Cook pasta al dente, reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid (or even more if you want some on hand for reheating).
Drain pasta, transfer it to a large bowl, and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. When it shimmers, add the zucchini, corn, and garlic. Immediately reduce the heat to medium, season lightly with salt, and cook for 2 minutes undisturbed.
Stir, and cook for one minute more, then transfer to a large serving bowl—zucchini may taste underdone, but it will continue to cook as it sits.
Add 2 more tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan. When it shimmers, add the pasta and let it cook undisturbed for 1 minute. Stir, and let it cook for another minute. The edges should be starting to brown. Repeat this process for 2 more minutes, or until the pasta is browned to your liking, then transfer it to the bowl with the vegetables.
Add the reserved pasta cooking liquid and the crème fraiche to the sauté pan and stir until emulsified, then transfer to the bowl of pasta. Add the basil, and toss everything together. Taste. Season with pepper to taste and more salt if necessary.
Serve pasta with lemon wedges on the side, if desired.