Bright, fresh arugula pesto, crunchy corn, and slightly feisty peppers become luxurious when finished with butter in this seductive gluten-free pasta dish by Split-Rail owner/executive chef Zoe Schor. Want it dairy-free? Skip the butter and add a little extra pasta water, then forgo the Parmsean.
Make the pesto: Fill a large bowl with ice water.
Fill a large pot with water and add 1 tablespoon salt; bring to a boil over high heat. Blanch the arugula just until it wilts, about 10 seconds; remove to ice bath to chill, reserving the salted water.
In the same pot of salted water over high heat, blanch the garlic for 1 minute; transfer to a plate.
Drain the arugula, then, using your hands, wring it until it’s as dry as possible.
In a food processor, process the garlic until fairly well chopped; add the arugula and process until fairly well chopped. Add the pepper flakes and stream in the olive oil. Add salt to taste; reserve.
Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Break the spaghetti into shorter strands, then add it to the boiling water and cook until al dente, following the package instructions; reserve ½ cup pasta water, then strain.
Warm the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chili pepper and corn, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Splash 1/4 cup of the pasta water into the pan, then add the cooked spaghetti. Cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes to heat, then add the cold butter, swirling the pan to emulsify. At the last moment, add the pesto. Taste, then add salt or lemon juice, as desired. Finish with Parmesan cheese.