Ingredientsextra virgin olive oil
½ cup panko (Japanese bread flakes)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3½ cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 6 ears of corn)
6 garlic cloves, smashed with the flat side of a knife and peeled
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound spaghetti
2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half through the stem
½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
First, make the spicy breadcrumbs. In a large (12-inch) sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the panko, crushed red pepper flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring very often, for 3-5 minutes, until the panko is golden brown. Remove to a small bowl to cool.
Wipe out the sauté pan with a paper towel, add 3 tablespoons olive oil, and heat over medium-low heat. Add the corn, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove ½ cup of the corn kernels and set aside. Transfer the rest of the corn and the garlic to the bowl of a vitamin or food processor. Add 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and process until coarsely pureed. With the vitamin or food processor running, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and process until smooth. Add the Parmesan and pulse until just combined.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a full rolling boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, then add the spaghetti and cook according to the directions on the box. While the pasta cooks, wipe out the sauté pan again. Transfer the corn pesto to the pan, add 1/4 cup of pasta water, and bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring until smooth. (Add another 1/4 cup pasta water if the pesto is still very thick.)
When the pasta is finished cooking, use tongs to transfer it to the sauté pan (do not drain!) and toss it with the sauce. Add the cherry tomatoes and reserved corn kernels and toss again. Serve the pasta in bowls, topped with spicy breadcrumbs and torn basil.