A bowl of creamy corn pasta.

Nothing beats corn on the cob for its ease and simplicity, but if I had my way, it would be corn off the cob ALL the time. Grated into the freshest polenta, simmered into a curried coconut soup, dressed with lime, olive oil, and herbs, sautéed with onions and garlic into an irresistible galette filling, some of my favorite summer dishes leave the cobs behind (or reserve them, smartly, to make a stock.)

The summer of corn off the cob continues with this creamy (no-cream!) corn pasta with basil, lemon and parmesan, a Melissa Clark recipe I made earlier in the summer after listening to this Cherry Bombe podcast. It has since become one of my favorite summer meals, and it’s simple, too: strip two ears of corn, sauté the kernels in butter with scallions, purée the mixture into a sauce, then toss it with pasta, fresh lemon, basil, parmesan, and chili flakes. If you make one thing this weekend let it be this pasta. Recipe below.

A few other favorite corn off the cob recipes:

Fresh Corn Polenta—Where Have You Been My Whole Life?  (A must if you’ve never tried!)

A bowl of fresh corn polenta with a poached egg on top.

Tacos with Grilled Poblano and Corn Salsa

A plate of two steak tacos dressed with grilled corn and poblano salsa.

Deborah Madison’s Corn Fritters with Cheddar and Scallions

A plate of corn fritters.

Mark Bittman’s Raw Corn Salad with Feta, Tomatoes, and Lime

A bowl of corn and tomato salad.

Deborah Madison’s Curried Coconut Corn Soup

A bowl of curried corn soup with coconut milk.

Toasted Orecchiette with Zucchini, Corn, and Crème Fraîche:

A bowl of toasted orecchiette pasta with corn and zucchini.

David Lebovitz’s Cornmeal Galette with Corn, Tomatoes, and Gruyère

Tomato galette with corn and gruyere.

Samin Nosrat’s Magical Five-Ingredient Corn Soup with Herb Salsa

Two bowls of corn soup with herb salsa and bread on the side.
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A bowl of corn pasta.

Melissa Clark’s Creamy (No Cream!) Corn Pasta with Basil

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5 from 11 reviews

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Adapted from the New York Times: Creamy Corn Pasta with Basil


  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 12 ounces dry pasta
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 8), trimmed and thinly sliced (whites and light green parts only)
  • 2 large ears corn, shucked and kernels removed (2 cups kernels)
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more to taste
  •  cup torn basil or mint, more for garnish
  • pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
  •  Fresh lemon juice, as needed


  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted (1 tablespoon at least) water to a boil. Cook pasta until 1 minute shy of al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup (or more) of pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in large sauté pan over medium heat; add scallions and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid—dip a measuring cup into the pot if the pasta is still boiling—and all but 1/4 cup corn; simmer until corn is heated through and almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, transfer to a blender (or food processor), and purée mixture until smooth, adding a little extra water if needed to get a thick but pourable texture.
  3. Heat the same skillet over high heat. Add remaining butter and let melt. Add reserved 1/4 cup corn and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. (It’s OK if the butter browns a little bit.) Add the corn purée and cook for 30 seconds to heat and combine the flavors.
  4. Reduce heat to medium. Add pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, tossing to coat. Cook for 1 minute, then add a little more of the pasta cooking water if the mixture seems too thick. Stir in the Parmesan, the herbs, the red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice (I typically use the juice from a whole lemon) to taste. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Transfer pasta to bowls and crack black pepper over top.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American