One-Pot Corn Pasta

published Aug 15, 2023
Dinner Therapist
One-Pot Corn Pasta Recipe

This quick and easy pasta dinner is packed with vegetables and tossed with a light & creamy no-cook sauce.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Overhead photo of One-Pot Corn Pasta in a bowl
Credit: Kelli Foster

Dinner Therapist is my column dedicated to solving your dilemmas around the most important — but, let’s be honest, sometimes most dreaded — meal of the day. Prepping dinner night after night can be so hard. Here, I deliver practical and hopefully fun advice to make cooking less complicated and more enjoyable. Follow along for all the recipes. Got your own dinner struggles? We want to hear from you! Fill out this super-quick form for your chance to be featured in an upcoming column.

As a professional recipe developer, avid home cook, and mom, I regularly get asked about my favorite type of recipe to cook. My answer isn’t what most would expect, although it does usually garner a lot of head nods in agreement. 

I love recipes that are low-effort, high-reward; they’re what I cook most at home. Impressive yet surprisingly easy meals are my jam. Don’t be fooled by my job — I feel the dinner struggle just as much as you. Figuring out what to cook night after night and finding the time to cook is not easy. I’m with you 100%. 

However, this is a problem I love trying to solve. Which is why I regularly get texts from friends to help figure out easy dinner solutions, and it’s why I get stopped by other parents at after-school activities to ask what I’m cooking for dinner, so they can get inspiration for their family dinner. And, it’s why I’m qualified to be The Kitchn’s Dinner Therapist.

I love creating recipes that are easy; require minimal prep; use a limited number of budget-friendly, readily available ingredients; call for the least amount of cookware possible (hello, easy cleanup); include vegetables; and, if possible, leave leftovers that reheat or pack well for lunch the next day. Most importantly, these dinners should taste absolutely incredible and be way more than the sum of their parts. 

How This One-Pot Corn Pasta Became My Family’s Summer Staple

As soon as summer hits, there’s a shift in my cooking style. I crave simplicity in my meals, lean on easy-as-can-be recipes, and, more than anything, want food that tastes like summer. This one-pot pasta checks all those boxes, and then some. 

Once sweet corn pops up at the market, this quick and easy family dinner is a staple in my meal plan roster (if fresh corn is not available to you, frozen corn will work just fine). It’s a true one-pot pasta (no draining necessary) that’s packed with corn, basil, and scallions, and tossed with a light and creamy no-cook sauce made with pasta water, ricotta, and Parm. It’s simple to pull together (with the option for advance prep), and easy to clean up.

Credit: Kelli Foster

If You’re Making One-Pot Corn Pasta, a Few Tips

  • Any dried short pasta shape will work. I happen to love cavatappi and recommend it for two reasons: It has a shorter cook time than some other shapes (just six to eight minutes), and those squiggles are perfect for capturing ricotta and corn kernels. That said, use whatever short pasta shape you have in the pantry. Orecchiette, fusilli, penne, rigatoni, and farfalle also work really well with this recipe.
  • Get a head-start on chopping, if you like. The scallions, garlic, and corn can all be prepped up to a day in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to use. Just be sure to store the corn separate from the scallions and garlic (which can be stored together). And if you’re grating your own Parm, that can also be done ahead of time. I do recommend waiting until the last minute to chop the basil, so it will keep its color. 
  • Wait to add the corn. Once the pasta comes off the heat, add the corn. This ensures that the kernels keep their crisp bite and don’t get chewy. 
  • Do let the pasta sit for a few minutes after coming off the heat. You’re ready to dig in, I know! This is perhaps the toughest step of the whole recipe, but the wait is worth it — I promise. This gives the sauce a chance to thicken up a little. 
  • Add the basil just before serving. After letting the pasta sit, add the basil and give it a good stir to combine. This will ensure the basil keeps its vibrant green color; otherwise, it will become muddy in color when added to the warm pasta too soon.

One-Pot Corn Pasta Recipe

This quick and easy pasta dinner is packed with vegetables and tossed with a light & creamy no-cook sauce.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4

    medium scallions

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 4 ears

    fresh corn

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 3 1/2 cups

    water

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 12 ounces

    dried short pasta, such as cavatappi, fusilli, orecchiette (about 4 cups)

  • 1/2 medium bunch

    fresh basil

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup finely grated or 1/3 cup store-bought grated)

  • 1 cup

    whole-milk ricotta cheese

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice the white and light green parts of 4 medium scallions (about 1/2 cup). Mince 3 garlic cloves. Shuck 4 ears fresh corn and cut the kernels off the cobs (3 to 4 cups).

  2. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the scallions, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes if using. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. It’s okay if the butter begins to brown.

  3. Add 3 1/2 cups water and 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and stir to combine. Add 12 ounces dried short pasta and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot, until the pasta is al dente, 6 to 11 minutes depending on the pasta shape.

  4. Meanwhile, pick the leaves from 1/2 medium bunch fresh basil and coarsely chop until you have 1/2 cup; chop more basil for garnish if desired. Finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup lightly packed) if needed, or measure out 1/3 cup store-bought.

  5. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the corn, Parmesan, and 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese. Stir until well combined and the pasta is coated with the cheese. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving so the sauce can thicken. Add the basil and stir again to redistribute the sauce. Serve garnished with more basil if desired.

Recipe Notes

Frozen corn: 3 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels can be used in place of the fresh corn, no need to thaw before using.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Add a splash of water or milk when reheating to make it saucy again.