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Bacon and Corn Pasta with Tomato Salad

Hello and welcome to Sunday Supper. I am loving cooking with corn this summer. We have had a number of recipes recently featuring this sweet summer veggie, and today I am adding one more to the list with Bacon and Corn Pasta with Tomato Salad. There are a lot of reasons to love this dish! The meaty bacon and large pasta shells, punctuated with pops of sweet corn, all cloaked in a glossy, savory sauce and topped with a bright and fresh tomato salad. Let’s get right to it!

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Getting Started

This recipe will make enough for 4 large servings. My strategy for dishes like this is to make enough for 2, with leftovers. So you can easily cut this recipe in half if you are cooking for one, or don’t want leftovers.

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Get a pot with 4 quarts of water, covered, set to boil. While the water is heating up, let’s cut the bacon and get that going in a Dutch oven or other large pot. We will start the cut bacon in a cold pot. Slice the bacon strips into 1/2-inch strips. I am using the whole 12-ounce package of bacon. While the bacon is cooking, slice the corn off the cobs.

Sauté the bacon pieces, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until cooked through and beginning to crisp up. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the bacon from burning.

When the bacon is cooked how you like it, cut the heat. Use a spider skimmer to transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

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Use a large spoon to transfer out all but about 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. By now the water for the pasta should be boiling. Add 2 tablespoons of Diamond Kosher Salt to the boiling water and then add the pasta. Set a timer for 7 minutes. Stir the pasta occasionally to keep it from sticking.

Tomato Salad

While the pasta is cooking, make the tomato salad. Quarter cherry and/or grape tomatoes and stir together in a small bowl with a heavy drizzle of olive oil and about 2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar. Season with cracked pepper and kosher salt. Stir again and set aside.

When the pasta is cooked to just shy of al dente, scoop out 2 cups of the pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander. Give the pasta a shake in the colander every few minutes to keep it from sticking.

Making the Sauce

Back to the Dutch oven with the 3 tablespoons of bacon fat; turn the heat to medium and add 1.5 cups of the pasta water to the fat and bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil for about 5 minutes. Then add the corn and stir.

Let the corn cook for about 3 minutes, then add the bacon back to the pot. Stir to mix in the bacon.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Now add the pasta to the pot. Stir up from the bottom several times to fully coat the pasta in the sauce.

Then add about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and pour in about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir vigorously, up from the bottom and around the sides to fully melt the cheese and coat everything in the sauce. Add more pasta water as needed to keep the pasta glossy.

The pasta will finish cooking to al dente and absorb the sauce so you are left with a glossy coating of sauce on the pasta, bacon and corn. Cut the heat.

Time to Serve!

Chiffonade cut several large leaves of basil and add the cut basil to the tomato salad and give it a good mix. Now we are ready to serve. Scoop a serving of Bacon and Corn Pasta into a wide, shallow bowl.

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Top the pasta with more Parmesan cheese. Then scoop some of the tomato salad and place on top of the serving of pasta.

Sprinkle some flaky finishing salt and a little cracked pepper on top.

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And that’s it! Bacon and Corn Pasta with Tomato Salad. This dish ticks all the boxes. We have meaty, rich, salty bacon; sweet pops of corn and bouncy chewy pasta shells all coated in the bacon-y glossy sauce. Then we have acid form the tomato salad to brighten and lift everything. The basil adds a little herby sweetness and the juicy tomatoes add a nice texture variation.

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Most definitely a winner in my book, and a dish you can make year round. The technique of saucing the pasta with a sauce made from a fat mixed with starchy pasta water is common in Italian pasta dishes (like Pasta alla Gricia), and once you master that technique there are so many variations – it really opens up a whole world of pasta dishes that are not only simple, but so very flavorful and surprisingly light. Try another pasta dish utilizing this technique: Rigatoni with Pancetta and Spring Peas.

Thank you all for joining me today, take care and be well. xo Kelly

Key Equipment

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Bacon and Corn Pasta with Tomato Salad

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Dinner, Main Course American/Italian
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 4
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cooking Time: 15 Minutes Total Time: ~35 Minutes

Large pasta shells hold sweet corn kernels with strips of bacon, coated in a rich and glossy sauce. Topped with a bright tomato salad.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. Bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 4 Ears of Corn, kernels sliced off the cob
  • 16 oz. Large Shell Pasta
  • 2 tbsp. Diamond Kosher Salt (or 1.5 tbsp. Morton's Kosher, or 1/2-1 tbsp. Table Salt) for the pasta water
  • 1/4 cup Powdered Parmesan Cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Tomato Salad
  • 2 cups Grape and/or Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp. White Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Several Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade cut
  • Finishing Touches
  • Flaky Finishing Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Instructions

1

Get a pot with 4 quarts of water, covered, set to boil.

2

In a Dutch oven or large pot, sauté the bacon pieces, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until cooked through and beginning to crisp up. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the bacon from burning.

3

When the bacon is cooked how you like it, cut the heat. Use a spider skimmer to transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

4

Use a large spoon to transfer out all but about 3 tablespoons of bacon fat.

5

By now the water for the pasta should be boiling. Add 2 tablespoons of Diamond Kosher Salt to the boiling water and then add the pasta. Set a timer for 7 minutes. Stir the pasta occasionally to keep it from sticking.

6

While the pasta is cooking, make the tomato salad. Quarter cherry and/or grape tomatoes and stir together in a small bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and about 2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar. Season with cracked pepper and kosher salt. Stir again and set aside.

7

When the pasta is cooked to just shy of al dente, scoop out 2 cups of the pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander. Give the pasta a shake in the colander every few minutes to keep it from sticking.

8

Back to the Dutch oven with the 3 tablespoons of bacon fat; turn the heat to medium and add 1.5 cups of the pasta water to the fat and bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil for about 5 minutes. Then add the corn and stir.

9

Let the corn cook for about 3 minutes, then add the bacon back to the pot. Stir to mix in the bacon.

10

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Now add the pasta to the pot. Stir up from the bottom several times to fully coat the pasta in the sauce.

11

Then add about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and pour in about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir vigorously, up from the bottom and around the sides to fully melt the cheese and coat everything in the sauce. Add more pasta water as needed to keep the pasta glossy.

12

The pasta will finish cooking to al dente and absorb the sauce so you are left with a glossy coating of sauce on the pasta, bacon and corn. Cut the heat.

13

Chiffonade cut several large leaves of basil and add the cut basil to the tomato salad and give it a good mix. Now we are ready to serve. Scoop a serving of Bacon and Corn Pasta into a wide, shallow bowl.

14

Top the pasta with more Parmesan cheese. Then scoop some of the tomato salad and place on top of the serving of pasta.

15

Sprinkle some flaky finishing salt and a little cracked pepper on top.

Notes

Chiffonade cut: Take several large leaves of basil and roll them up like a cigar. Use a sharp utility or chef's knife to slice the rolled basil leaves on the short side, into thin strips. Fluff the pile of sliced basil.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Mari
    July 24, 2022 at 9:37 am

    What a gorgeous summer salad. I was getting over my summer tomato addiction, and then these lovely pictures popped into my inbox. I thought the corn nestled into the shells was a nice touch. That would be a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables. I haven’t seen any large wheat free shells, so I will have to substitute something else; since I do eat my vegetables, there will be no need to hide the corn In the shells, which would have been more fun. I feel very morose about that, but not for long. This salad will be perfect for tonight, and any day or night. I’m making the breakfast sandwiches that you posted last year, which means we won’t eat lunch, and we are having a nice Kelly day at my house! Yesterday it was warm and sunny. 96 degrees warm, and supposedly will be hotter today. I will have to admit that with central air, it doesn’t really feel like July until I open the front door. We started “The Old Man”, last night. My son was reluctant but after the reviews he read, he decided he would watch it. We will watch the second episode tonight. The camera work is interesting. It’s so dark, moody and evocative. Great acting too. We caught the trailer for John Wick 4, and it looks to be another good one. I think it’s out next March, but who knows? That could change at any time. I’m hoping for February which is a gloomy month, and John Wick would vastly improve the shortest month of the year, which always feels like the longest, for some reason. Probably because there are no holidays to look forward too. Groundhog Day doesn’t count, with or without Bill Murray. Happy sweet, silly Sunday to Kelly, Alex, Terry and the three desperados. ☀️🥰🐕🐕🐕

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      July 24, 2022 at 11:12 am

      Happy Sunday, Mari. Sounds like you have a nice day planned. I am glad you started watching The Old Man. I hope you both enjoy it! I haven’t yet seen the preview for JW4, I will have look for it on YouTube. No matter which gluten free pasta you swap into this recipe, it will be delicious! Enjoy, xo Kelly

  • Reply
    Terry
    July 24, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    This looks good Steve is staying for a week and so far we have had Huli huli chicken Yumm that was so good. Beer brats, tonight it’s country garlic ribs I’m working my way through the recipes So far he loves them all maybe I can squeeze this into the list I’ll keep you posted have a great Sunday 🤗❤️Mom

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      July 24, 2022 at 2:04 pm

      Sounds like a great menu you’ve got going, Mom! Tell Steve hello from me and have a great time! xo Kelly

  • Reply
    Carroll
    July 24, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    I agree . . . it looks wonderful!

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      July 24, 2022 at 2:39 pm

      Thank you, Carroll! xo Kelly

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