Summer is the best time of year for communal cooking, whether you gather your friends around the grill—or the pasta pot. “Down here, it can get too hot in the summer to be out in the backyard anyway,” says Ryan Pera, chef and co-owner of a trio of Houston eateries: Eight Row Flint, Revival Market, and Coltivare, an Italian joint inspired by his roots in Genoa. “You can get the dough and boiling water ready ahead of time, and roll the pasta out with your guests.” Or you can make it a quick and easy weeknight meal with store-bought noodles. Sliced grape tomatoes bring acidic zing to a skillet of sweet corn, shrimp, squash blossoms, herbs, and ropes of tagliatelle. Starchy corn milk helps bind it all together, making for a bowl of noodles and farmers’ market produce that’s the tastiest symphony of garden and grain since juicy heirloom tomatoes met white bread.
Corn & Shrimp Tagliatelle
A summertime skillet supper
photo: Peter Frank Edwards
2 ears of corn
1 lb. high-quality dried tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, and halved lengthwise
1 shallot, minced
1 serrano chile, minced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
8 squash blossoms, washed, stamens removed
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
8 large basil leaves, torn
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Squeeze of lemon, to finish
Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil, then season it generously with salt.
Using a chef’s knife, remove kernels from the cobs. Then, using the back of the knife, scrape each cob to release the milk. Reserve.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Just before it’s done, pull out 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, pour 1 tbsp. oil into a high-sided skillet over high heat. When it starts smoking, add shrimp in a single layer. Do not move them. When they begin to turn brown around the edges after about 2 minutes, remove to a plate. Add 1 tbsp. oil, shallot, serrano, and tomatoes to pan. Cook until tomatoes are lightly charred and release their juice, 2–3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with a splash of pasta water and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add corn and cob milk, and cook until corn is tender, about 2 more minutes. Add seared shrimp, squash blossoms, parsley, and basil to the skillet and toss to combine. Then add pasta, tossing to coat, and pasta water as necessary to create a thin, glossy sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice and serve immediately.
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