Pasta with Corn, Slow-Cooked Tomatoes, and Garlic Confit

By • July 1, 2014 16 Comments

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Author Notes: Feel free to make the garlic confit and the slow-cooked tomatoes a few days ahead of time. They keep really well in the fridge. Another useful idea is to double the amounts of garlic and tomatoes so that you have extra for salad dressings or as toppings for just about anything. Pay close attention to the instructions for the garlic cloves. If you don't puncture a hole in them, they can explode while cooking in the hot oil: dramatic, messy, and potentially dangerous. The slow-cooked tomatoes, garlic confit, and corn mixture is awesome on pasta. But you can also spoon it on grilled bread or toss it with massaged kale.Phyllis Grant

Serves 4

  • 12 cloves garlic, unpeeled (for the garlic confit)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (any size, color, shape)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic oil (from the pot of garlic confit)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 sprigs fresh herbs (any combination of thyme, rosemary, tarragon, sage)
  • 3 ears yellow or white corn
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons garlic oil (again, from the garlic confit)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup parsley leaves
  1. With a paring knife, puncture a tiny hole in each clove of garlic. Place cloves in a small pot and cover with the olive oil. If the cloves aren't completely covered, add a splash more oil. Bring to a boil. Turn down as low as the flame will go. Simmer until a paring knife slides in easily (about 15 to 20 minutes). Take off the heat and cool in the pan. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 250° F. Prepare your sheet pan. I use a full-size cookie sheet covered with a Silpat or parchment paper. But If you have a nice and clean nonstick sheet pan, there's no need to cover it. Place the whole tomatoes on the pan and toss with garlic oil (just scoop it right out of your garlic confit pot), salt, and herbs. Place in the preheated oven. Check after 1 1/2 hours to make sure they're not burning. Take them out of the oven when they've shriveled up and darkened in color. They should still be moist inside. This takes 2 to 3 hours. Remove form the oven and smoosh them with the back of a wooden spoon (careful, they will squirt you!) and cook them for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Rub the herb sprigs between your hands, sprinkling the dried leaves down onto the tomatoes. Discard any tough sticks. Gently mix. Set aside.
  3. Shuck your corn. Get a large and wide bowl. Hold an ear of corn by the stem end with the opposite tip pressing down into the center of the bowl. Using a very sharp knife (serrated works well), saw the knife back and forth, working your way from the stem end down towards the bowl, cutting the corn kernels away from the cob as you go. Try to remove just the kernel layer (almost like a corn kernel rug). You don’t want to cut out tough chunks of the cob, so make sure the knife moves straight down without digging too deep. Rotate the ear and cut down again. Keep rotating and cutting off the kernels until the cob is bare. Turn the knife around and milk the corn by rubbing the dull side of the knife up and down the cob all the way around. Repeat all steps with the other ears of corn. Set aside.
  4. Place a large pot of water on high heat for the pasta. Add salt.
  5. While waiting for the water to boil, spoon 5 tablespoons garlic oil (from the cooled pot of garlic confit) into a medium-sized pot. Squeeze all garlic cloves out of their skins into the oil in the pot. With the back of a wooden spoon, break the cloves apart a bit into the olive oil. Warm for 30 seconds on medium heat. Add corn and salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat down to low. Add tomatoes. Stir for one minute. Taste. It will probably need a bit more salt. Adjust as needed. Pour into a large serving bowl. Set aside.
  6. When the water is boiling, slide in your pasta. Cook until al dente. Add drained pasta to the tomato/corn/garlic mixture. Toss. Add a few more splashes of garlic oil. Taste. Add more salt or garlic oi as needed. Garnish with parsley leaves. Serve immediately.

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