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.


  • 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



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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.