If there's one thing I love about Summer it's that the produce is so incredibly abundant and flavorful that all you really have to do to put together a delicious meal is not mess with the ingredients too much. This dish is a perfect example of that concept. Lightly grilled ribbons of zucchini and charred corn kernels are tossed together with fresh pasta and some pesto punched up by a bit of my Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend for depth and a bit of preserved lemon for a pop of brightness.
Pappardelle with Spicy Pesto, Grilled Zucchini Ribbons, and Charred Corn
1 ear corn
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large (8- to 10-inch) zucchini
8 ounces fresh pappardelle (or other long, flat pasta)
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend
1/4 cup basil pesto
1 tightly-packed handful of fresh basil, torn or julienned
1 teaspoon preserved lemon peel, minced (or the zest of one lemon)
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Preheat grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub the corn all over with a bit of olive oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until the corn is charred in spots. Allow corn to cool and then cut kernels from cob and set kernels aside.
Trim the ends of the zucchini. Using a vegetable peeler, cut zucchini into long, thin ribbons. Rub zucchini ribbons lightly with a small amount of olive oil and then place zucchini ribbons on grill or grill pan and grill just long enough to make grill marks. Set grilled zucchini ribbons aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain pasta.
While you wait for the water to boil, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Add the Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend and stir to combine. Lower the heat and add the pappardelle, zucchini, corn, basil, lemon, and pesto to the skillet, along with about 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir very gently to coat everything. Add more pasta water as necessary to achieve desired sauciness. Top with crumbled feta and serve.
Suggested wine pairing: This dish would be delightful with any light, fruity white wine, but it will absolutely sing with a Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend such as this one from Leeuwin Estates in Margaret River, Australia, one of my truly favorite wine regions of the world.