Recipes with a twist

Recipes with a twist

I love sharing recipes that I have learned from family members and put my own twist on. My mom makes an incredible pasta salad for almost every cookout or get-together, and this is my fusion take on the recipe I learned from her many years ago. The inspiration here is one of the best street foods out there: elote. It’s a staple in Mexico that combines grilled corn on the cob with creamy, spicy and salty ingredients to give you the absolute best way to enjoy corn. This dish brings everything you love about Mexican street corn and combines it with a staple side dish that everyone can enjoy in a new way. 

Elote Pasta Salad | 5-6 servings

8 oz rotini or fusilli pasta

2 cups cooked corn kernels (from 2–3 corn cobs)

1 red bell pepper, diced

1⁄2 cup diced red onion

1⁄2 cup crumbled cotija cheese

1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for serving

1⁄4 cup mayonnaise 

1⁄4 cup sour cream 

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp of chili powder

1⁄2 tsp of smoked paprika 

1⁄2 tsp of garlic powder 

Salt and pepper, to taste 

Lime wedges, for serving 

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water to cool it down and stop the cooking process.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, corn, red bell pepper, red onion, cotija cheese and cilantro. Set this aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and give it a toss, being careful not to break the pasta. Grab a spoon and give it a taste, and then adjust the seasoning to your preference. Cover the bowl and pop it into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to chill and further develop its flavor.

When you’re ready to serve, give the pasta salad a gentle toss to refresh the flavors. Garnish with additional fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. 

Reprinted with permission from How to Cook a Steak by Mike Alfarah. Page Street Publishing Co. 2024.
Photo credit: Corey Wyckoff.