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Corn and Pasta Bake


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One thing I really miss at this time of year is fresh corn on the cob.  They call it Sweet corn here . . . not sure why that is, only that it is.  You can get corn on the cob here in the shops . . . but it really isn't very good.  They don't seem to understand that corn begins to turn starchy as soon as it's picked . . . or that you shouldn't completely husk it.

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The  shelves in the grocery shops have sweet corn, already husked, or partially husked . . . been sitting there for days.  It's not good.  Having eaten corn right off the waggon and fresh out of the fields for most of my life, I am spoilt as far as corn goes. 

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We tried to grow our own one year.  Peaches and cream.  You would think that would have been relatively easy enough . . . just plant the seeds, but . . . it just didn't work.  We got only a few cobs . . . and they were very small.  Tasty, but hardly worth the effort.

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I keep saying that some year I am going to go home to visit during corn season . . . so that I can enjoy a good feed of it, and one year  I will. It's a promise I have made to myself.  Back home you know your corn is ready to pick as soon as the raccoons help themselves . . . that's one things raccoons know well . . . perfectly ripe corn.

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Here I make do with tinned sweet corn.  It's better than any you can buy fresh, or perhaps I should say any that you can buy in the shops fresh.  I have never seen it for sale at the side of the road like we do back home.  It might be different if they did.  Perhaps it would taste just as good, fresh picked as the stuff I am used to.

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I fear I will never find out.  In any case this casserole today is a beautiful side dish which makes good use of tinned sweet corn, two varieties . . . and cheese.   The pasta cooks in the corn, soaking up all of it's flavour.  that makes for one mighty tasty casserole.  Your family will eat this one up.  I promise!   If they like corn, they'll love this.

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*Corn and Pasta Bake*
Serves 6 to 8
This is so simple and yet so delicious.  It's great to bring to pot lucks, and is always one of the first things to disappear.

1 (285g) tin of sweet corn, undrained (15.25 ounce tin)
1/2 pound small pasta shells, uncooked
1 (418g) tin of cream corn(16 ounces)
1/2 tin of milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
(reserve a handful for the end)
finely crushed buttered cracker crumbs


Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*f/ gas mark 4.  Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish really well.  Set aside.
Stir together both tins of corn, remembering not to drain either one of them.  Add 1/2 tin of milk, some seasoning to taste and most of the cheese, reserving a small handful for the end.  Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it out.  cover tightly with aluminium foil.  Bake for 45 minutes, stirring it every fifteen minutes and uncovering for the last ten minutes.  At that point you can sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top and the cracker crumbs.  Bake for the last 10 minutes until golden brown.  Simply scrummy.

Recipe clarification just in case there is some confusion:
You use the empty tin of creamed corn to measure the milk.  It is not tinned milk, just ordinary milk.  Also you add the pasta dry to the mix and it cooks in the oven, absorbing most, if not all of the liquid!
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Marie Rayner
3 Comments
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3 comments:

  1. hello sweet marie, this sounds wonderful, I hate to tell you this but the corn is ready here so its everywhere!I wish I could send you some fast fast, I also want to congratulate you on your book, I hope you find a publisher soon!

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  2. Here in the US there are many varieties sweet of corn, which is a variety of field corn, raised to be less starchy. My favorite here is called, called butter and sugar. You can't grow corn just anywhere, the soil needs to be just right, nutrient-wise, be warm, and well tilled before planting. Also, as corn plants are pollenated by wind scattering the pollen, if you're not planting lots of long rows of corn, you need to plant it in small blocks, say four short rows of four plants each, at the very least. I'll wager if you read up on planting corn, you'll have success, Marie. The first time I tried, I didn't read up on it, and planted one longish row.. got smallish stalks and no corn.

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  3. I really, really want to try this.

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