So, I have this thing with corn. See, it’s my favourite thing to eat. Pretty much in the entire world. I would pass up a 6 layer chocolate cake for one cob of perfectly grilled, super sweet, summer corn (dripping with melted butter, and covered with salt and pepper, OF COURSE). So, please understand that I go out of my way to find new ways to incorporate corn into my diet. And please, don’t waste your breath telling me about how modified corn is, etc. I have very few vices, and I’m totally ok with keeping this one up for the rest of my life.
The second thing I have to tell you is, this dish, as I made it, is a hell of a lot of work. It really is. I mean, you’re going to see me making the pasta from scratch, the filling, a broth, a sauce… look, I’m already exhausted just telling you about what I’m going to tell you. Obviously we’re heading to uncharted territory here as far as this blog is concerned. This is why I have the ultimate hack for you – don’t make it.
30 Minutes to the Table version too!
I’ve got a life-hack version of the pasta in the recipe:
A pared back version with store bought pasta
on your plate in less than 30 minutes!
Ok, that sounds odd, this being a food blog and all. I mean, if you don’t want to go balls deep in corn and waste an entire day in the kitchen – don’t make the pasta – buy it. Go to your grocery store, buy a package of that super convenient cheese cappelletti, then go home and just make the sauce. Look how easy that was! I just saved you literal hours, and you still get to enjoy an awesome, cheesy, corny, and bacony pasta. Woo hoo! Your day just got a whole lot more awesome, I know.
First thing to do is make the pasta. Look at this beautiful shot. There’s all the eggs and yolks and specialty (here in Canada) tipo 00 flour. Which, by the way, can seem impossible to find. I picked mine up at Coppa’s, who took over some of the Highland Farm’s locations in Ontario. Most people in Canada just use all purpose flour, because that’s what we have. You make a well in the flour, add the eggs, salt, and a bit of olive oil, then slowly incorporate it with a fork until it’s a shaggy enough mess that you can get your hands in there and knead it. And knead it. And knead it. I swear, my wrists grew three sizes this day (<- obscure Dr Seuss “The Grinch” reference; that’s how you know I’m a Mom). If you don’t want to do it like this and have sore wrists for three days, but still want fresh pasta, check out my food processor fresh pasta here. Once this is done you let it rest on the counter, wrapped in plastic wrap, until you’re ready to use it.
The next thing to do is get the stock going. You toss all the bare corn cobs (you’ve cut the kernels off already in prep for the rest of the recipe), along with some water, onion, peppercorns, and a bay leaf, into the pot. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes and strain it out. That golden bowl up top is what you’re left with.
While your stock is simmering away you can make the filling. Saute some diced onion in some olive oil with a pinch of salt. Once translucent, add in a couple of cloves of minced garlic along with the corn kernels. Stir until the corn is nice and bright yellow, then take it off the heat and stir in your cheeses (an awesome mix of mozzarella, mascarpone, and parmesan). At this point you throw the mixture into your blender until it’s as smooth as possible, then your filling is ready to go.
Here’s the pureed filling, with salt and pepper added to taste.
Now we roll out our pasta. For cappelletti you want it nice and thin, like a ravioli. You should be able to see the outline of your hand through the sheets, like this.
You want to cut 3″ circles out of the dough, then put a teaspoon of filling in the center of each one. To shape these, use a spray bottle of water (your best friend when making pasta), and give the circles a spritz once the filling is on it. Fold one side over to the other to form a half circle. Press around the edges to seal, then bring the two pointy ends together, basically folding the flat part up around the filling in the shape of a hat, and pinch the two ends together to seal. It will be able to sit upright when done properly. I couldn’t find a good picture or video of this online quickly, so next time I’ll make one for you.
Here’s the finished cappelletti! This was my first time making this kind of pasta, and that’s how gorgeous they turned out, so I promise it’s not nearly as hard are you think it will be! When you finish shaping the cappelletti you’ve got to put them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet that’s been dusted with flour, and don’t let them touch because they’ll stick together.
Gratuitous bacon shot! Ok, ok, pancetta, but basically the same thing! All that’s left to do is make the sauce and boil the pasta, and this part’s so quick and easy I have no pictures of it, lol. Whoops! All you do is cook the pancetta until crisp, then remove from the pan and set aside for a minute. Add the butter, corn kernels, and stock over high heat and bring to a simmer. When the pasta is just about al dente (2 – 3 minutes in the pot of boiling water) you add it to the sauce, along with the reserved pancetta, and toss it a couple of times. The pasta should now be perfectly cooked, and the sauce slightly thickened (don’t look for super thick, this is a sauce that just kinda kisses the pasta). Add it to your plates, then top with a sprinkle of salt, some chives, a generous fresh squeeze of lemon juice, and some freshly shaved parmesan cheese.