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Pasta Salad with Charred Corn and Cilantro
Creamy-rich yet bright and fresh, this pasta salad takes inspiration from Mexican esquites, corn that typically is grilled or roasted and finished with a mixture of herbs, lime, chili and cheese. We simmer corn cobs in the water that’s later used for cooking the pasta for added sweet, grassy flavor. The kernels, meanwhile, are charred and tossed with brine from pickled jalapeños, cilantro, Mexican crema and salty cotija. And if fresh corn is out of season, frozen kernels that have been thawed and patted dry work nicely; you’ll need 2 pounds. If using frozen kernels, you won’t have cobs to simmer, so simply boil the pasta in the water.
cups fresh corn kernels from about 5 ears of corn, cobs reserved (see headnote)
ounces ditalini OR penne OR elbow macaroni