Penne with Fresh Corn & Chile Sauce


  • 3 ears corn
  • 4 or 5 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 3 fresh chiles (a combo of jalapeño and red Fresno), seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves spring garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • A handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Grated pecorino cheese


Scrape the kernels from the corn and reserve one of the cobs. Break the cob into several pieces.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon in the EVOO (1 or 2 turns of the pan) over medium-high heat. When the fat has rendered out, add the corn kernels, reserved corn cob, chiles, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, lime zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the corn is lightly browned. Add the chicken stock, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes more.

Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta al dente. Before draining, ladle out about a cup of the starchy pasta cooking water and add to the sauce along with the butter, lime juice, and parsley. Remove the cob and bay leaf. Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the sauce, add pecorino to taste and toss with tongs 1 or 2 minutes for the flavors to absorb.

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