Creamy Sweet Corn with Pancetta

Visitors to my restaurant in Las Vegas order this more than any other side dish, and when we take it off the menu, diners truly get upset . . . people travel especially for it! It’s a decadent side and a perfect partner to meat or chicken. When it’s in season, the sweet flavor of fresh white corn is especially nice here.



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1⁄4 pound pancetta, diced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, stalks discarded, chopped
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag sweet corn, thawed, or kernels from 8 ears fresh corn
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the pancetta is crispy and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the shallot, fennel, and red pepper flakes, and cook an additional 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.

Stir in the corn and salt, and mix well to combine and warm through. Add 3 tablespoons of water, then fold in the mascarpone and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Heat just to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Stir in the basil and black pepper, and serve.

Reprinted from Giada’s Italy. Copyright © 2018 by GDL Foods Inc. Photographs by Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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