This recipe is from Loukie Werle's terrific new book, Pasta Rustica (Pennypig 2012) which includes more than 100 new recipes. Loukie's Italian Country Cooking:The Secrets of Cucina Povera was a great hit. As it's Aussie Bacon Week, here's one using bacon as a topping instead of the more ubiquitous parmesan. “In this recipe there’s a lovely interplay with acidic tomatoes, sweet corn and salty bacon," says Loukie. "Most people associate corn with Californian and Mexican cooking, but corn has been in Italy forever – think about polenta. Orecchiete are the perfect shape to catch corn kernels in their hollows,” says Loukie.
- short pasta such as orecchiette or penne - 500g
- red wine vinegar - 2 tablespoons
- extra virgin olive oil - 1/2 cup
- shredded fresh basil leaves, plus extra leaves for the top - 1/2 cup
- cherry tomatoes - 2 punnets, washed and halved
- corn cobs - 3, kernels removed and lightly cooked
- green onions (shallots) - 6, cut diagonally into 3cm lengths
- bacon rashers - 4, grilled until crisp and crumbled
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse briefly under cold water. Drain again and set aside in a large bowl.
Combine the vinegar in a bowl with a good pinch of salt and whisk until the salt has dissolved. Gradually add the oil, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the basil.
Add the tomatoes, corn and green onions to the pasta, pour over the dressing and toss well.
Scatter with bacon and extra basil leaves and serve immediately.
Note: orecchio means ear in Italian, which is why the pasta is ear-shaped. They are used extensively in Puglia, southern Italy.