This easy recipe for cheesy pesto pasta with corn and mozzarella cheese takes full advantage of some great fresh summer ingredients for a delicious supper. It’s a great way to use that basil and fresh corn while it is still in abundance!
Why we love this recipe
It’s getting to be that wistful time of year when the basil is still all around us in big aromatic bunches, but you know that its days are numbered, and that means it is time for pesto.
And speaking of things that are here today and gone tomorrow, can we discuss the deliciousness that is fresh corn?
And of course everything is better with cheese, so I’ve teamed up both Parmesan and mozzarella for this ultimate summer supper. That is ready in 20 minutes. Let’s do this thing!
ingredients you need
ingredient notes and substitutions
- Pasta: We find that a short pasta (think cavatappi, penne, campanelle, bow-ties) works best with this chunky sauce. Use your fave!
- Mozzarella: Look in the fancy cheese section for fresh mozzarella that comes in everything from chunks to cute little pearls that are just perfect for this recipe.
- Corn: Fresh corn is really the best of the best in this recipe. In a pinch you can use frozen, but do what you can to snag the fresh stuff!
- Basil: HAS to be fresh to make the pesto. More and more supermarkets have it in the produce aisle as plants, which is perfect for snipping off just what you need.
how to make this recipe
STEP 1: You start off by making pesto! Most pesto recipes call for pine nuts, but I like making mine with walnuts. I find it has a richer taste, and I always have walnuts handy.
Toss them into your handy food processor with some parmesan cheese, a whole lot of basil, a little garlic and give it all a whirl.
Now pour some olive oil through the food processor feeding tube until everything is smooth and green. You’ve made pesto!
STEP 2: While the pesto process is happening, you can be cooking up your pasta. Before you drain the pasta, scoop out some of the salty pasta water.
Now all you need to do is put this scrumptiousness together! Pour the drained pasta into a bowl, add the corn and the mozzarella and give it all a good toss.
STEP 3: Add the pesto a spoonful at a time, tasting as you go, until it is as pesto-y as you like it. That’s a personal preference. (I like super-pesto-y!)
STEP 4: Drizzle in a little of that magical salty pasta water until you have a light sauce, and now all you need to do is dish it up and garnish it with a little more parmesan cheese, some basil leaves and a some fresh pepper.
I mean, who could resist a plateful of this summer deliciousness? I ask you. Go use that basil and corn! I’ll be right there with you.
You can! Just be careful about adding just a little at a time to get the taste you want. You can usually find prepared pesto near the pasta sauces (and it’s a good way to get your pesto on during non basil season!)
When pasta cooks, it releases starch into the water (that is what makes it a little cloudy. And since hopefully you have thoroughly salted your water, at the end of the pasta cooking time you have a starchy, salty water that is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT for making or loosening up a light pasta sauce. It’s truly magical.
Spread a dishtowel out on your counter (this is to catch the runaway kernels that like to bounce away), put a shallow bowl on the cloth and firmly hold the top of the ear of corn in one hand in the center of the bowl – it doesn’t matter which end. Use a paring knife in a zig-zag motion to cut the kernels off in strips until you have gotten all the kernels off.
We like using the fresh sweet corn raw in this recipe, but if you want your corn cooked, add it to the pasta during the last minute of cooking and let it drain with the pasta.
Pop your question (or comment, or suggestion) in the Comments section below and I will answer pronto!
want to round out your meal?
Corn and basil season is also fresh tomato season, and we CANNOT resist this rustic tomato salad with goat cheese. Mmm-mmm. Or maybe a fruit salad is more what you are looking for, in which case, this recipe for Mimosa fruit salad has your name on it.
And let’s make this easy peach upside down cake for dessert!
other fresh veggie pasta recipes we love
Looking for more pasta inspiration? Here is our complete collection of pasta (and pizza! recipes!
could you leave us some stars?
If you try this recipe, we would love to hear how it came out for you! I’d be super grateful if you could leave a star rating (you pick how many stars! 🌟 ) and your thoughts in the Comments section. Your thoughts and advice will help both us and your fellow readers. 🥰Print