This corn pasta is deliciously creamy...without any cream! Blended corn creates the sauce's luscious texture. Fresh basil takes it over the top.
This corn pasta recipe is late summer in a bowl. Just like the season, it feels transitional. While it’s bursting with fresh, summery produce like sweet corn and basil, it’s also creamy and comforting, suggestive of all the cozy fare we have coming our way this fall.
To clarify—when I say that this corn pasta is creamy, I don’t mean that it’s made with actual cream. The luscious texture comes from the corn itself! It blends into a silky sauce that beautifully coats the pasta. More corn kernels stay whole for crunch, while basil and pecorino cheese add depth of flavor.
The entire dish comes together with 11 ingredients in under 30 minutes. If you’re looking for an easy, delicious recipe to make to celebrate the end of summer, this creamy corn pasta is it.
Corn Pasta Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you need to make this corn pasta recipe:
- Corn, of course! You’ll need 3 cups fresh corn kernels, from about 4 ears. I highly recommend making this recipe while sweet corn is in season, but in a pinch, frozen corn will work here too.
- Pasta – I like to use medium shells because they capture the crisp corn kernels and creamy sauce. Orecchiette would also be delicious. To make this recipe gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
- Shallots and garlic – For savory depth of flavor.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – For sautéing the vegetables.
- Fresh lemon juice – It adds brightness and acidity to the sauce.
- Pecorino cheese – It thickens the sauce and adds rich, umami flavor. If you don’t have pecorino, Parmesan cheese works too!
- Fresh basil leaves – Their bold, citrusy flavor makes this pasta taste like summer.
- Red pepper flakes – For heat.
- And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Corn Pasta
This corn pasta recipe is quick and easy to make!
Start by cooking the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. I typically stop at the low end of the time range on the package directions. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the starchy pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Toss it with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.
Meanwhile, sauté the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn kernels, shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot has softened and the corn is tender and bright yellow, about 5 minutes.
Next, make the sauce. Transfer half the corn mixture to a blender and pour in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Add the lemon juice and puree until smooth.
Then, pour the corn puree back into the skillet. Add the cooked pasta and toss to combine, warming it over low heat. Add the cheese and another 1/4 cup pasta water, and stir until the cheese melts into the sauce. If you like, add more pasta water to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency.
Finally, season to taste with more salt, pepper, lemon juice, and/or cheese, as desired. Fold in half the basil, and garnish with the remaining basil and sprinkles of red pepper flakes.
Enjoy! Feel free to serve the pasta with more cheese on top. 🙂
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Corn Pasta Recipe Tips
- Boil the pasta until it’s just al dente. It’ll cook more in the skillet with the sauce. If you go much past al dente on the initial boil, it can get too soft and mushy later on.
- Don’t pour out the pasta water! Starchy and salty, it’s like liquid gold. In this recipe, it helps the corn blend into a smooth puree, then loosens that puree into a creamy sauce that lightly coats the pasta. Make sure to reserve at least 1 1/2 cups before draining the pasta.
- Blend, blend, blend. I like this corn pasta best when the sauce is super smooth. Make sure to blend well to get rid of any graininess from the corn.
This creamy corn pasta is a wonderful summer dinner. Round out the meal with a simple vegetable side dish like roasted zucchini, grilled zucchini, grilled tomatoes, or lemony green beans, or serve a salad on the side. Any of these recipes would be a great choice:
How to Store Corn Pasta
This recipe is best on the day it’s made, but leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove with a splash of water to loosen the sauce. It thickens in the fridge.
More Favorite Corn Recipes
If you love this creamy corn pasta dish, try one of these corn recipes next:
- Sweet Corn Pizza
- Corn Chowder
- How to Boil Corn on the Cob
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Corn Dip
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Or any of these 25 Fresh Corn Recipes!
Creamy Corn Pasta
- 12 ounces shell pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Kernels from 4 ears fresh corn, 3 cups
- 2 shallots, chopped (⅔ cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup grated pecorino cheese
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- Red pepper flakes, for sprinkling
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions, cooking until al dente. Reserve 1½ cups of the starchy pasta cooking water before draining.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the corn kernels, shallots, garlic, salt, and several grinds of pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until the shallot has softened and the corn is tender and bright yellow. Turn off the heat.
- Transfer half the corn mixture to a blender and add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and the lemon juice. Puree until smooth.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the veggies and heat over low heat. Add the corn puree and stir to coat the pasta, then add the cheese and another ¼ cup pasta water and stir until the cheese melts into the sauce. Add more pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce to your liking.
- Season to taste and fold in half the basil. Garnish with the remaining basil, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, and serve.