Creamy Fusilli with Truffle Grilled Corn and Pickled Leeks
The base of this fresh and creamy sauce is similar to an alfredo sauce except that it is made from pureed corn and a little cream and Parmesan cheese. I love using corn as much as I can when it’s at its peak during summer months. The kernels of grilled corn add texture to the pasta while sharp cheese, pickled leeks and aromatic truffle oil balance out the flavors of the sweet corn in this dish.
When buying truffle oil be sure to check the label. While all truffle oils are essentially “fake” because olive oil is infused with a gas to give the flavor, some are definitely better than others. Look for bottles that only contain the ingredients olive oil and truffles. While truffle oil is expensive, a nice small bottle is worth the splurge and the bottle will last you awhile since you only need a little bit of the intense oil for finishing dishes. I like Oregon Truffle Oil.
If you don’t have a grill, remove the cornhusks and brush the corncobs with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 400º and bake until tender, about 25 minutes. If corn isn’t in season you can still use out of season grocery store corn for this pasta. Since preserving is a large time commitment this recipe for quick pickled leeks gives you the end product in a pinch. It doesn’t last as long but it’s quick to throw together.
For the creamy fusilli truffle grilled corn:
5 ears sweet corn, about 4 cups, divided
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon white truffle oil
1 tablespoon diced shallot
¾ cup dry white wine
½ cup heavy cream
5 ounces Parmesan, freshly grated
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ pound Fusilli pasta
For the quick pickled leeks:
½ cup champagne vinegar
½ cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Brush the husked ears of corn with olive oil. Grill over medium-high heat until the corn in tender. Transfer the corn to a platter and cut the kernels off the cob. Add 1 cup of the corn to a small mixing bowl and stir in the truffle oil.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil and heat through. Add the shallots and sauté until soft and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the pureed corn and heavy cream and whisk to combine. Continue to cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Slowly add the Parmesan and whisk to combine until the cheese has completely melted. Add the sauce back to the food processor and puree until smooth. While still running the food processor, add the butter one tablespoon at a time through the top. Continue to puree until the butter is completely incorporated.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain the pasta and return to the pot.
For the quick pickled leeks:
Thinly slice the whites of the leeks and discard the green tops. In a medium saucepan whisk together the vinegar, water, salt and sugar until the salt and sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a simmer, add the leeks and remove from heat.
Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to two weeks.
Add the sauce to the pot of pasta and toss to combine. Add the truffle corn and ½ cup of the pickled leeks. Serve immediately in warmed pasta bowls.