Pasta with Creamy Corn Sauce, Basil and Breadcrumbs


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corn pasta in a grey bowl

Fresh corn is simmered and blended until smooth to give this pasta a fresh, creamy sauce (without any cream). Topped with garlicky breadcrumbs and fresh basil, this pasta dish is begging to be your next late summer meal. 

I have to admit that this pasta dish was a purely selfish creation. It uses all of my favorite flavors and textures. But I feel certain you’ll love it every bit as much as I do. It has a creamy sauce made from blended sweet corn – one of the best flavors of late summer. On top is my favorite pasta topping – garlicky toasted breadcrumbs – an idea that comes from the Cook Smarts version of Spaghetti Salerno.

The result is a dish that’s not all that complicated (it uses just a few ingredients), though it does require you to get out the blender. The reward? The best creamy pasta sauce made without cream – just sweet, savory summer corn.

This recipe is:

  • Fresh
  • Colorful
  • Crunchy
  • Guest-Worthy
  • Summer-Friendly
  • Vegetarian
  • Saucy

pasta in a colander


  • Pasta – Use a fun shape that will soak up sauce. I used Gigli (bought from Trader Joe’s) which, through testing, feels like the perfect shape for this dish.
  • Kosher Salt – Important! Make sure you season the pasta water generously with salt. That salted water is what will season and flavor the sauce. 
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – These Japanese-style breadcrumbs are super crunchy and they add great texture on top of the pasta. Regular breadcrumbs won’t give you nearly as much crunch. 
  • Garlic – Saute these with the breadcrumbs for flavor. Keep an eye on them to be sure they don’t burn.
  • Corn Kernels – These are the heart and soul of this dish. Slice them off fresh cobs for the best flavor, but frozen will work in a pinch. 
  • Parmesan Cheese – This is the only other ingredient in the sauce. Parmesan + sweet corn + pasta water = the best creamy summer sauce.
  • Fresh Basil – Don’t skip this. The fresh color and flavor of basil brightens the dish.

adding sauce to pasta in a dutch oven

Possible Variations

  • Make it Gluten-Free – Just use your favorite gluten-free pasta and gluten-free panko (Kikkoman makes a good one).
  • Make it Dairy-Free – Use your favorite vegan / dairy-free substitutes for the parmesan and butter.

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5 from 7 votes

Pasta with Creamy Corn Sauce, Basil, and Breadcrumbs

Fresh corn is simmered and blended until smooth to give this pasta a fresh, creamy sauce (without any cream). Topped with garlicky breadcrumbs and fresh basil, this pasta dish is begging to be your next late summer meal.
Don't forget to reserve 3/4 cup of pasta water - you'll need it both to season the sauce and thin it out to the right consistency.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4


  • Stockpot
  • Skillet
  • Colander
  • Blender


  • 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 5 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 12 oz Pasta, any fun shape (I used Gigli pasta)
  • 2 cups Corn Kernels, preferably fresh
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for serving
  • Chopped Fresh Basil, for topping (optional)


  • Bring a large pot of water (for the pasta) to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp kosher salt.
  • While the pasta water is coming to a boil, place a large skillet over medium heat. Add 3 Tbsp butter. When butter melts, add breadcrumbs and garlic and saute until golden brown and fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. (Note: If using unsalted butter, season the breadcrumbs with some salt.) Set aside. Return pan to medium heat.
  • At this point, the water for the pasta should be boiling. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
  • When pasta has been boiling for a few minutes, scoop out 3/4 cup of pasta water and reserve it for the sauce.
  • To the heated skillet you used for the breadcrumbs, add remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Add corn and saute until corn is bright yellow and tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Combine corn and reserved pasta water in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  • Drain pasta. Pour corn over pasta. Gently fold in parmesan cheese. Taste pasta and season with some salt, if needed.
  • Divide pasta between serving bowls.
  • Top pasta with fried breadcrumbs, chopped basil, and some extra parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


Calories: 592kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 2150mg | Potassium: 344mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 582IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $6.00
Calories: 592
Keyword: corn recipe, easy dinner, easy, weeknight-friendly, kid-friendly, summer, vegetarian
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

5 from 7 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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