Elote Spaghetti
Thomas J. Story
Yields 4 Servings
AuthorDonald Hawk

Saucing an Italian dish with the flavors of Mexican street corn is exactly the sort of madcap riff chef Donald Hawk, of Phoenix’s Valentine, specializes in. They make their pasta in-house with ‘00’ white Sonoran wheat and local egg yolk, but you can make this dish with store-bought spaghetti. And while they source their goat cotíja from Crow’s Dairy, normal cotíja works too.

How to Make It

1

Prep the corn: On a gas or charcoal grill, grill corn over high heat until dark brown on all sides. Cut kernels off corn without cutting into the husk. Reserve cobs.

2

Make corn stock: Place husks and cobs in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook 2 hours. Strain stock through a chinois or fine mesh strainer and set aside.

3

Purée the corn: Place half the kernels in a blender, along with a pinch of kosher salt and 1⁄4 cup corn stock. Purée until the texture is that of a thick pudding. Set purée aside.

4

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add oil, garlic, and chile de árbol flakes, and cook until garlic is lightly colored, about 2 minutes.

5

Add wine to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Remove pan from heat, and add peppercorn mix, corn purée, 1/4 cup corn stock, and butter. Add pasta to the pan along with a little pasta water. Return the pan to the heat, and cook until the sauce has slightly thickened, 1–2 minutes.


6

Remove pan from heat and stir in the Asiago, cotíja, and a few drops of lime juice. Then double-check seasoning. The secret is that the cotíja is the true seasoning. If the cheese is salty, then you won’t need that much salt added to the pasta. Taste the cheese first and adjust as needed.

7

If you want to play chef, twirl pasta onto long tweezers and place on a plate to look like a corncob. Garnish with more cotíja and crushed corn nuts, and serve!

Ingredients

 5 ears corn, shucked, husks reserved
 salt to taste
 ½ cup corn stock, divided (directions at right)
 1 lb. package of spaghetti
 2 tbsp olive oil
 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
 1 tsp chile de árbol flakes
 ¼ cup dry white wine
 ½ tsp ground peppercorn mixture (black, pink, Sichuan)
 3 tbsp butter
 ¼ cup grated Asiago cheese
 ¼ cup cotíja cheese, plus more for garnish
 lime juice as needed
 ¼ cup cup corn nuts, crushed

Directions

1

Prep the corn: On a gas or charcoal grill, grill corn over high heat until dark brown on all sides. Cut kernels off corn without cutting into the husk. Reserve cobs.

2

Make corn stock: Place husks and cobs in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook 2 hours. Strain stock through a chinois or fine mesh strainer and set aside.

3

Purée the corn: Place half the kernels in a blender, along with a pinch of kosher salt and 1⁄4 cup corn stock. Purée until the texture is that of a thick pudding. Set purée aside.

4

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add oil, garlic, and chile de árbol flakes, and cook until garlic is lightly colored, about 2 minutes.

5

Add wine to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Remove pan from heat, and add peppercorn mix, corn purée, 1/4 cup corn stock, and butter. Add pasta to the pan along with a little pasta water. Return the pan to the heat, and cook until the sauce has slightly thickened, 1–2 minutes.


6

Remove pan from heat and stir in the Asiago, cotíja, and a few drops of lime juice. Then double-check seasoning. The secret is that the cotíja is the true seasoning. If the cheese is salty, then you won’t need that much salt added to the pasta. Taste the cheese first and adjust as needed.

7

If you want to play chef, twirl pasta onto long tweezers and place on a plate to look like a corncob. Garnish with more cotíja and crushed corn nuts, and serve!

Elote Spaghetti

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