This creamy corn pasta with fresh basil is a bright meatless meal that's fast, simple, and makes the best effortless summer dinner! It's on the table in just half an hour.
Love summer pasta recipes? Try my Herb Butter Pasta.
Really simple creamy pasta with corn
I don't know about you, but I love impressing people with a pasta dish that looks fancy but is actually simple to make. This creamy pasta recipe has creamed corn vibes, and it's a great way to use up fresh summer corn! Hello, easy entertaining.
The sweetness of the corn in the cream sauce paired with cheesy parmesan goodness and the flavor punch of fresh basil... I'm in heaven. This pasta is basically summer in a bowl. It's filling yet light enough to enjoy on a lazy summer evening, and you'll find yourself making it again and again.
What you'll need
- Pasta - I used shells since I love how they're perfect little pockets for the sauce, but any shape is fine
- Butter and flour - to make a quick roux
- Garlic - always use fresh garlic. I used two cloves, but you're welcome to use more
- Chicken broth - to enhance the savory element of the sauce. Feel free to swap it out with vegetable broth or white wine!
- Lemon juice - for brightness and acidity
- Italian seasoning - it's a blend of dried Italian herbs that conveniently comes in a single jar. I include it in so many recipes since it's so versatile.
- Cream - heavy cream is best for the decadent sauce
- Corn - fresh summer corn cut off the cob is best, but frozen or canned corn totally works if you're craving this in the winter
- Parmesan - always grate your own block of parmesan for freshness and ideal texture
- Basil - fresh basil creates the perfect contrast to the creamy sauce
How to make creamy corn pasta
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Start by boiling some water for the pasta. When it's about 10 minutes from being ready, start the sauce. Melt the butter in a skillet, then add in the flour and make a quick roux.
- Stir in the garlic, followed by the broth (or use white wine), lemon juice, and Italian seasoning, then whisk in the cream and add the corn. Let it cook for a few minutes until it thickens up a bit.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese and basil and take the pan off the heat. Toss with the drained pasta and season with salt & pepper as needed!
Substitutions and variations
- Because of the acidity of the lemon, I don't recommend subbing out the heavy cream for something lower fat since it could easily curdle. You will also need to add more flour to the roux if you go that route since milk or half-and-half tend to yield thinner sauces that aren't as rich.
- Swap the broth for a dry white wine if you feel like opening a bottle. Try a pinot grigio, chardonnay, or sauvignon blanc.
- Have more fresh herbs in your garden? Throw 'em in!
What to serve with creamy corn pasta
- This pasta a meal in itself, but it would go well with some garlic bread or a slice of crusty bread. And a glass of wine on a patio with twinkle lights and good company. Ok, that's not strictly necessary.
- A side salad would be good too. Try this Super Simple Parmesan Arugula Salad or mixed greens with this Creamy Balsamic Dressing.
- It would also work great as a side dish. Pair it with these Garlic Butter Steak Bites!
Leftovers and storage
- Creamy corn pasta leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge in a covered container, but keep in mind they will soak up the sauce a bit, and the basil will probably wilt.
- Reheat in a small saucepan over a low heat, using additional cream to give the sauce some new life if you like.
- Cream sauces don't freeze well, so avoid freezing leftovers.
Questions about this creamy corn pasta? Talk to me in the comments below!
Creamy Corn Pasta
- 8 ounces pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup chicken broth/veg broth or dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1.5 cups corn (frozen or fresh) see note
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil torn/chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
- When the pasta is about 10 minutes away from being done, add the butter to a skillet over medium heat. Once it melts, sprinkle the flour in and cook for a minute or two.
- Add in the garlic, followed by the broth, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning. Let it bubble for about 30 seconds.
- Whisk in the cream and then add the corn. Let the sauce cook for a few minutes until it has thickened to your liking.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese and basil. Take the skillet off the heat.
- Add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss until coated (add a tablespoon or so of the pasta water to the sauce prior to draining it, especially if it's become a tad too thick). Season with salt & pepper as needed (I am generous with both) and serve immediately.
- Frozen corn is partially cooked before it's frozen, and it will cook more in the sauce. If using fresh corn, you have 2 options: 1) Cut it off the cob and add it in as-is and it'll cook slightly (it'll have a bright and fresh flavor). 2) Boil the cobs beforehand then cut the corn off and add it to the pasta if you prefer it to be fully cooked.
- I don't recommend subbing the heavy cream for anything with a lower fat content (e.g. half-and-half or milk) because the lemon in the sauce may curdle it.
- This recipe will serve 2-3 hungry people or make 4 reasonably sized portions (like if it's served with an appetizer or side).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.