I have always loved corn. As a kid, I remember my mom would set out a bowl of frozen corn while she made dinner, ready to pop it in the microwave at the last minute. But she often had to refill the bowl before it made it that far because I used to sneak handfuls of the frozen kernels to snack on. Yes, frozen corn. Such a cold but tasty treat. And yes, I was kind of a strange kid.
It’s still one of my favorite vegetables (starches?) of all time. I love it raw right off the cob, especially when it comes from my grandparents’ garden, or hot off the grill, slathered in butter. I love it in soups, stews and curries. I’ve even eaten it numerous times in pasta dishes — one of my favorites being with lobster, cream and agnolotti. *Swoon*
So really, a sweet corn sauce for raviolis (filled with corn puree, roasted poblano chiles and manchego cheese) was truly the best idea for dinner I’d had in a while. To keep it from being a total carb fest, I bought a pork tenderloin for protein, some arugula for roughage and some spring onions because I have no power to resist them. Oh and a spicy serrano pepper and garlic to make things extra tasty.
Here we go!
Before I got too involved, I took my spring onions and gave them a quick chop, a thin coating of olive oil and put them in the oven to roast. I have really been loving spring onions this season and thought they’d be more fun in the sauce than regular onions. Though, of course, if you prefer you can simply add some diced onions to the garlic when you start the sauce process.
Which is what we come to next…
The sauce preparation is simple and doesn’t really involve too much in the way of time or ingredients, but it will help it you have a blender or food processor. The first step is taking the corn off the cob. Use a knife to cut the kernels away — just be careful to keep your fingers away from the blade. I often break the ears in half to make them a little easier to handle.
Once the kernels are stripped away, take the back part of the blade and scrape the milky liquid from the cob. This is the good stuff! If you are really feeling frisky, you can take the shorn cobs, put them in a pot with cold water and make a corn stock. That would make this sauce even more delicious.
At this point I set the pan aside, and worked on the other parts of the dish — cooking my raviolis until al dente and searing the pork tenderloin. Once the pasta was pulled from the water and the pork was finishing in the oven, I turned back to the sauce.
Puree half of the mixture to a creamy consistency and then add it back to the pan with a generous splash of stock (corn, chicken or vegetable), cream and a nubbin of butter. Honestly you won’t need much to make it flavorful but you do want it to be saucy enough to coat the pasta. A squeeze of lime will also help perk things up if it tastes a little flat.
Then panic a bit and realize that you slightly overcooked the pork. But you were quick enough to pull the onions and man, do they look good! Seriously spring onions — I love you.
Toss the pasta in the sauce and add some of the pasta water and the spring onions. Cook until everything starts to cling and come together. Add a little more butter, just because, and maybe a sprinkling of red chili flakes and cheese. I grated up some pecorino because I always seem to have some on hand.
And that’s it — plate up!