A one pot corn and tomato pasta recipe perfect for busy weeknights!
- 1 lb. pasta (I used orecchiette)
- 1/3 cup light cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 ears sweet corn, grilled and kernels removed (you can also use frozen sweet corn)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish (use basil instead if you like!)
- Cook pasta in very salty water until al dente.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
- Drain remaining water from pasta. Return pasta to the pot and return the pot to the stove.
- Add cream cheese to hot pasta and stir until cream cheese has melted.
- Add lemon juice, grilled sweet corn kernels, and cherry tomatoes to pasta and stir to combine.
- At this point, the cream cheese should have melted and the pasta might look a little bit dry. Add a splash of reserved pasta water and stir to thin the cream cheese out a bit and create a smooth but very light sauce. (If you like, you could also add olive oil, stock, or a splash of heavy cream here).
- Taste pasta and add salt and pepper as necessary. If you started with cold corn and notice the pasta isn't as hot as you would like, this is the time to turn the heat back on to low and gently stir the pasta until it comes up to temperature. Add additional splashes of pasta water (or olive oil/stock/cream) if it looks too dry.
- Stir chopped cilantro into the pasta.
- Serve immediately and top with reserved cilantro for garnish.
Don't forget to salt your pasta water! Seasoning makes all the difference here since there are so few ingredients, and if you omit the salt in this recipe you'll end up with a bland dish. Pasta water should be "salty like the sea" - so give it a good dose of salt before you cook the pasta! Also, don't skimp on the black pepper - using fresh ground black pepper (instead of pre-ground) gives this pasta a nice extra bit of flavor!
A NOTE ABOUT THE SAUCE: A bit of cream cheese is my go-to choice for creamy pastas when I don't have time to make a proper sauce, but if you have the time, you could try this lemon parmesan sauce or a more traditional cheese sauce (some people prefer these to using just the cream cheese since more complex sauces have more flavor).
Add grilled chicken, shrimp, seitan, or tofu to this pasta to make it a little heartier. You can also swap out any seasonal veggies if tomatoes and corn aren't in season by you. This is great with peas, asparagus, roasted squash or sweet potato, or roasted cauliflower!
If you'd like a thicker, creamier sauce, you can double the amount of cream cheese called for in this recipe.
This recipe is only as good as your ingredients. Use fresh, in-season cherry tomatoes (they're sweeter and more flavorful than out-of-season tomatoes!) and fresh grilled sweet corn for flavors that really shine.
These photos were updated in late 2017 and the recipe was updated to streamline and simplify the cooking process, so don't worry if it looks a little different - it will still taste great!
Keywords: pasta, summer, side dish