Twice, now, I’ve made a recipe from Bon Appetit’s 8/2010 issue, Tagliatelle with Fresh Corn Pesto. Neither time was the corn “fresh”; straight from the freezer was all I could get when I finally decided to try it out. Originally, I was torn, because it seemed interesting, while at the same time EXTREMELY disgusting. Corn on pasta? Just how much starch do we really need for dinner? But WOW…the result is a savory, nutty-flavored pesto that pops with fresh basil.
But here’s a note: a nut is not just a nut. In any pesto dish, I’ve substituted walnuts for pine nuts because, let’s face it, pine nuts are waaaaaay more expensive. I didn’t think the flavor difference would be significant, and I’ve always been happy with the wal-nuttier version. HOWEVER, in this recipe, there simply is no nut substitution. The first time I made it, I used the toasted pine nuts according to the recipe and the savoriness was perfect. This time, when I used walnuts, they added a bitterness to the dish that reduced its savory complexity. A disappointment, for sure, since I made it for a dinner party.
Don’t be dissuaded from this amazing dish, which is just fine with frozen corn in place of fresh, but also don’t substitute the any other nut for the pine nuts. Spend the money. Check out the bulk nut section of your local grocery store.