Home > Dinner > Pasta & Pizza > Corn Pasta (Secretly Healthy!) Corn Pasta (Secretly Healthy!) November 18, 2020 | No Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. This creamy– but secretly healthy– Corn Pasta is a ridiculously creamy pasta made without any cream or milk. What’s the secret? Creamed corn! This unforgettably tasty pasta can be enjoyed any time of the year, thanks to canned and frozen produce! If you love sweet corn, our practically famous Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is another recipe you’ll want to add to your list to make. (Why are pasta and corn such a winning combo?!) Our Latest Pasta Obsession! This corn pasta with basil is inspired by Melissa Clark’s recipe which uses fresh corn and reserved pasta water to form the sweet corn pasta sauce. The minute I saw the recipe, I knew I needed to try it! But seeing as fresh sweet corn is only available for a limited time, I had to create my own take on the recipe. So I began experimenting with frozen sweet corn and canned corn and came up with a combo using both. First, canned creamed corn for a saucy pasta sauce base and second, frozen sweet corn left in its whole form. And after a bit of work and testing, I am beyond excited to share this recipe with you all. This creamy Corn Pasta recipe has truly become our latest obsession. (So obsessed in fact, that there has already been another variation created — be sure to check out this Vegetable Pasta!) My kiddos love it, my husband can’t believe there isn’t loads of heavy cream or milk in it, and I am truly in love with it all — the corn + basil flavor combo, the sauce’s texture, and just how easy it is to make. How To Make Corn Pasta Start by boiling the pasta in salted water. While the pasta cooks, whip together the sauce– which begins with sautéed green onions and garlic, creamed corn, and a little bit of pasta water (water the pasta gets cooked in). We’ll blend this all together and this practically magical combination becomes the cream sauce for this pasta. It’s truly a game changer when most creamy pasta recipes use a cup or more of heavy cream. (cough. cough. I’m looking at you Chicken Pasta!) Finally, sauté some frozen corn, add the sauce in, and it’s time to toss everything together. The final step of tossing the hot pasta with the creamed corn sauce and this reserved pasta water is one of the secrets to Italian pasta. It’s called emulsifying and that’s how you get a luxuriously smooth and incredibly flavorful sauce. While tossing, we add in a touch of Parmesan — nothing beats a sweet corn sauce, pasta, and cheese! QUICK TIP A lot of pasta recipes call for “reserved pasta water” which simply means you’ll pull water out from the pot where the pasta is boiling in. Yes, pasta water looks a bit less than appetizing, but it’s filled with leftover starch from the boiling pasta and plenty of salt — just what we need for this Corn Pasta recipe! What Is Creamed Corn? If you aren’t familiar, creamed corn (which is also called cream-style corn) is a canned ingredient and doesn’t have any actual cream in it. So what’s up with that name? About half of the fresh corn kernels are pureed (or “creamed)” and the other half are left whole. The two are mixed together to create creamed corn (or cream-style corn). Another great thing about this Corn Pasta? You don’t need fresh or in-season corn to still enjoy loads of flavor! Canned corn and frozen corn — it’s all going to work and taste amazing! QUICK TIP We use creamed corn in this popular Chicken Corn Chowder and Thanksgiving-favorite Corn Casserole! Corn Pasta Toppings Fresh basil. Although basil isn’t as readily available in the winter as it is in the summer, I’ve never had a problem finding a packet or plant at my local grocery store. The basil really elevates the flavor of this dish. (Who says summer Corn Pasta can only happen when it’s warm outside?!) Red pepper flakes. For anyone that loves some heat, sprinkle on some red pepper flakes to individual plates. Additional Parmesan cheese. I like grating a touch extra of Parmesan with a microplane right on top of individual plates. This gives the cheese the best possible texture and it melts beautifully on this creamy corn pasta. Recipe Tips Thoroughly blend the pasta sauce. This dish is luxuriously creamy and the sauce truly tastes like there is a cup of heavy cream in it! To get that creamy mouthfeel, be sure to take the time to thoroughly blend in a high-powered blender. Tear the basil. A tip I learned from an Italian cooking class while making this bruschetta— tear, don’t cut the basil! This will keep the basil fresher and looking bright/vibrant for much longer. The tears don’t need to be perfect, just quickly tear off smallish pieces of basil and add to the pasta. Salt the pasta water: Make sure the shells are well salted as they boil, since salting the water is the only chance you have to season the actual pasta. It makes a big flavor difference in this recipe, which relies on salted pasta and salty pasta water. VARIATIONS Corn Pasta Variations Creamy corn pasta with bacon and scallions: Finely chop 4-6 slices of bacon and cook it first. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Then, instead of adding butter to sauté the green onions, sauté them in the leftover bacon grease instead! Top pasta with the set aside bacon and voila! Pasta with sweet corn, tomatoes, and basil: if you’d like to add some tomatoes, sauté some cherry tomatoes with the frozen corn. Swap the pasta: Feel free to use a different pasta shape; try penne, rotini, fusilli, or farfalle. Vegan corn pasta: Use vegan butter and leave out the Parmesan. You may need some extra spices and salt to make up for the lack of cheese. More Favorite Corn Recipes: Corn Chowder with bacon and potatoes Quinoa Corn Salad with a chipotle-lime vinaigrette Black Bean Corn Avocado Salad with a chili-lime vinaigrette Corn Salad with tomatoes, avocado, and a simple vinaigrette Corn Chowder Pot Pie with a puff pastry crust topping FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Corn pasta 5 from 3 votes - Review this recipe This creamy, but secretly healthy Corn Pasta is a ridiculously creamy pasta made without any cream or milk. What's the secret? Creamed corn! This unforgettably tasty pasta can be enjoyed any time of the year, thanks to canned and frozen produce! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Corn pasta 5 from 3 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe This creamy, but secretly healthy Corn Pasta is a ridiculously creamy pasta made without any cream or milk. What's the secret? Creamed corn! This unforgettably tasty pasta can be enjoyed any time of the year, thanks to canned and frozen produce! Course Dinner Cuisine American, Vegetarian Keyword corn pasta, Creamy Corn Pasta With Basil Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Servings 4 servings Calories 584kcal Cost $5.87 IngredientsFine sea salt and cracked pepper4 cups (340g) medium pasta shells uncooked4 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated1 bunch green onions1 tablespoon minced garlic1 can (14.75 oz; 418g) creamed corn Note 11-1/2 cup (210g) frozen corn1/2 cup (40g) finely grated Parmesan cheese Note 21/2 cup torn basil (or more to taste) Note 3Optional: red pepper flakes InstructionsPASTA: Set a large colander in the sink with a glass mug or liquid measuring cup in the center of the colander. (This is so you don't forget to reserve some pasta water before draining the pasta!) Bring a large pot (5.5-quart or bigger) of water to boil. Once boiling, generously salt the water (I add 1 tablespoon fine sea salt). Return to a boil and then add in the shells. Cook according to package directions, subtracting one minute. Before draining, remove 1 cup of pasta water and then drain. Do not rinse.SAUCE: Meanwhile, thinly slice the green onions -- just the whites and light green parts (~1/2 cup). Discard or save the dark green parts for another recipe. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to a large pot or sauté pan over medium heat. Once melted, add sliced green onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes. Add in garlic and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid. (Just dip a measuring cup into the pot if the pasta is still boiling.) Stir. Finally, add in the full can of creamed corn and mix. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Use a spatula to scrape every bit of the mixture from the pot to a blender. Blend mixture (See Note 4) until very smooth (~1-2 minutes on high), adding a little extra water if needed to get a thick but pourable texture.SAUCE CONT.: While the mixture is blending, return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter and melt. Once melted, add in frozen corn and cook for 1 minute. Add in the blended corn mixture and mix. Reduce heat to medium and simmer to combine flavors until pasta is done cooking.TOSS: Add drained pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and toss vigorously to coat. While tossing, gradually add in the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, adding 2 tablespoons at a time. Toss and cook for 1 minute; add a little more of the pasta cooking water if the mixture seems too thick. Continue to toss until sauce is thick and coats the pasta nicely. Taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste (I typically add 1/2 up to 1 teaspoon pepper and another pinch of salt). Mix in the herbs and serve.SERVE: Serve plates up, garnishing with additional basil and Parmesan if desired and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes if using. Enjoy immediately! Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Creamed corn: Creamed corn (or cream-style corn) is a canned ingredient and doesn’t have any actual cream in it. About half of the fresh corn kernels are pureed (or “creamed)” and the other half are left whole. The two are mixed together to create creamed corn or cream-style corn. You can find creamed corn near regular canned corn in the grocery store. Note 2: Parmesan cheese: Grate a block of Parmesan on the small holes of a grater. Alternatively use finely grated Parmesan cheese. Parmesan from the can will be too salty and won't melt into the sauce nicely. Note 3: Basil: The basil adds so much to this recipe! I wouldn't recommend leaving it out, but if you aren't a fan, try flat-leaf Italian parsley instead. Note 4: Blending: When blending, make sure to secure the lid on tightly and select the “soup” or “hot” cycle. Increase speed slowly and watch it carefully to avoid sauce exploding out or over. Remove the lid carefully as it will likely release a burst of steam. If your blender doesn’t have a hot/soup setting, you can compensate by replacing the blender lid with a folded towel and holding it in place with your hands. This will help reduce steam pressure. Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 584kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 19.8g | Fat: 17.5g | Cholesterol: 37.7mg | Sodium: 198.1mg | Fiber: 5.7g | Sugar: 11.3g We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. 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