Fettuccine & Sweet Corn Cream

Fettuccine tossed in almond & corn cream sauce with greens makes a perfect summer dinner. Lighter than a dairy cream sauce but no less delicious. Vegan.

Oh, corn… if you’re not from the midwest, you don’t really know corn… in the same way that if you’ve never been to southern Italy, you’ve never truly experienced a tomato.

Jack doesn’t “get” corn. But he’s from Florida, so he never grew up with late-July anticipation of the sweet, crunchy, juicy goodness that is Illinois bi-color corn. (And truthfully, I think the closest he got to “corn” as a child was via Frito-Lay).

If I had peak-season Illinois corn, I wouldn’t even be cooking it this much. This is a summery dish you make when you live somewhere that doesn’t have Illinois corn (or you could even use frozen corn). We have this pretty good corn in Texas right now. I usually eat it doused with chipotle chile powder (another good application for “pretty good” corn). But this time I was craving something a little bit more subtle.

This creamy sauce, made from corn and almonds, is luscious and a just tad bit rich… but on the (way) lighter side than traditional creamy fettuccine. I tossed in some spicy arugula for contrast…In case no one’s noticed, I’m kind of an arugula addict.

4.0 from 1 reviews

Fettuccine & Sweet Corn Cream

Serves: 4
For the sweet corn cream: (makes 2 cups, you will have extra)
  • 1½ cup almonds, blanched, skins removed*
  • 1½ cups corn kernels, blanched (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1-2 tablespoons agave or honey (to taste)
  • Sea salt
For the pasta toss:
  • 8 ounces fettuccine (or pasta of your choice – feel free to sub in whole grain or gluten free)
  • ¾ cup corn kernels (in addition to the corn that is in the sauce recipe above)
  • 2 cups uncooked arugula or spinach
  • ½ cup (or more) of reserved pasta water
  • ½ – ¾ cup sweet corn cream sauce, from above (as much or little as you like)
  • ¼ cup basil, chopped or torn
  • Juice of ½ lemon, to taste
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Make the sweet corn cream: In a high speed blender (we used a Vitamix), puree the almonds, corn, water, olive oil, garlic, onion, lemon, 1 tablespoon agave, and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust. If you want it more sweet, add more agave. If you want it more tart, add more lemon, or if more rich, add more olive oil. And, of course, add salt to taste.**
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse, reserving at least ½ cup pasta water.
  3. In a large bowl*** place the loose corn kernels and arugula. Scoop cooked pasta noodles on top along with some of the reserved starchy pasta water. Spoon in the almond cream, a little at a time, along with more pasta water, tossing as you go to wilt the arugula and thin out the cream sauce. Continue, adding more sauce, salt, pepper, the basil, another few squeezes of lemon, and the red pepper flakes, if using. Taste as you go. Use as much or little of the cream sauce as you like. This can be a very light dish, or a more rich one depending on what you’re in the mood for.
*To blanch the almonds, drop in boiling water for about 30 seconds, remove and transfer to a bowl of water filled with ice. Skins should slide right off.
**The corn flavor will intensify if you let the sauce sit for a bit. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. This can be made up to 2 days in advance.
***If you made the sauce ahead of time and it is cold from the refrigerator, you might want to mix everything together in a large skillet with a little bit of olive oil over low heat instead of a bowl so that your final dish is hot and not lukewarm.



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  1. Mary

    I made this using cashews instead of almonds, and it was pretty good! It was nice to be able to use up things i already had at home. I used the extra sauce to make it again a few days later.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Chandni

    Hi there

    The looks delicious. I have a quick question regarding the corn for the corn sauce. I have a bag of frozen corn…how do I blanch this? Thank you x

  3. Chloe

    This was so good! I have a lot of sauce left over, do you think I would be able to freeze it? Thanks!!

    • jeanine

      I’m so glad you liked it! Hmm, I can’t say for sure (it might separate as you thaw it). It should last in the fridge for the rest of the week (stir it if it gets watery). If you do try to freeze it, let me know how it works out!

  4. Tess

    I moved from Ohio to Germany 12 years ago and I still miss good fresh corn on the cob every summer! The best kind I remember eating in Ohio was called “Silver Queen” and we would get it fresh from our favorite farmer’s stand. The only corn you can get here (and it hardly even deserves to be called corn) is canned or pre-cooked shrink-wrapped corn on the cob. *shudder*

    • jeanine

      pre-cooked? oh no! 🙂

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.