Chef Marc Vetri

Marc Vetri - Credit Steve Legato

With a slew of restaurants (and even more awards), Marc Vetri has become a household name. This Pennsylvania resident is a fan of seasonal, local veggies; his flagship restaurant in Philadelphia, Vetri, showcases fresh ingredients to delight guests with the unexpected.

In 1998, Chef Vetri opened the doors to his first restaurant after working for years in kitchens around the United States and Italy. Since then he’s gone on to gain culinary renown and even a James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.”

Marc’s rustic Italian fare, focused on the best seasonal produce, is a hallmark of his style. This recipe highlighting just-picked local corn, from his cookbook Mastering Pasta, embodies that philosophy.

Marc Vetri - Fettucine with Corn Crema - Credit Ed Anderson

Fettuccine with Corn Crema and Charred Green Onions

Every summer in July, this dish goes on the menu at Amis, and it stays on until we get the last of the sweet corn in the fall. Fresh corn with charred green onions is one of those combinations that should be up there with tomatoes and basil. The sweet freshness of the corn and slight bitterness of the green onions make an awesome contrast. The creamy corn puree and the delicate chew of the green onions are another delicious contrast. This dish has a great look, too, with bright green on bright yellow.

Pasta swap: Any thick noodle works well here. Try pappardelle or corzetti.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (454 g) Egg Yolk Dough (page 26), rolled into sheets about ⅛ inch (3 mm) thick
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (21 g) finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 large ears corn, shucked and kernels cut from cobs
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 small green onions, trimmed
  • 1 chunk ricotta salata cheese, for grating (optional)

Method

  1. Lay a pasta sheet on a lightly floured work surface and trim the edges square. Cut the sheet into 9-inch (23-cm) lengths. Fit your stand mixer or pasta machine with the fettuccine cutter and set it to medium speed. Feed 1 length of dough at a time through the cutter, dusting the dough lightly with flour as it is cut into strands. Coil the fettuccine into nests and set them on a floured rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining sheets. Use the fettuccine immediately or freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Take the pasta right from the freezer to the boiling pasta water.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add the yellow onion and sweat it until it is soft but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add all but ¼ cup (40 g) of the corn kernels and the water. Simmer the corn gently until it is heated through and almost tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste the mixture, adding salt and pepper until it tastes good to you. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until it is smoking hot. Add the green onions and cook, turning once, until charred on two sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove the skillet from the heat, transfer the onions to a cutting board, and chop finely. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and pour in the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil. When the oil is hot, add the reserved ¼ cup (40 g) corn kernels and the chopped green onions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then stir in the corn crema. Keep warm over very low heat.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the fettuccine and cover the pot to quickly return the water to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender but still a little chewy, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a spider strainer or tongs, drain the pasta by transferring it to the pan of sauce. Reserve the pasta water.
  5. Add about ½ cup (118 ml) of the pasta water and cook the mixture over medium-high heat, tossing and stirring vigorously until the sauce reduces slightly, becomes very creamy, and coats the pasta, about 2 minutes. Keep the pasta moving until pasta and sauce become one thing in the pan, adding a little more pasta water if necessary to create a creamy sauce. Taste it, adding salt and pepper until it tastes good to you.
  6. Dish out the pasta onto warmed plates and grate the ricotta salata over the top.

Written by Nathan Greenwood

Recipe reprinted with permission from Mastering Pasta by Marc Vetri, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photo credit: Ed Anderson © 2015