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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


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