Even when they are tasty, creamy pasta sauces can be unappealingly heavy. A few bites and you’re done.
Luckily, a lighter solution lies in peak season for sweet corn, whose high starch content can create a creamy sauce without having to resort to using cream. Just pull out the blender.
We developed this vegetarian pasta for our book “COOKish,” which limits recipes to just six ingredients without sacrificing flavor, with frozen corn for year-round appeal. But it will be even better with fresh ears.
For this recipe, which is loosely based on one from “Mastering Pasta” by Marc Vetri and David Joachim, cut 3 cups of kernels from the cob (about 3 large or 4 medium ears). Blitzing two of the cups in the blender with chopped scallion whites, a bit of water, salt and pepper makes an easy no-cook sauce. Simply heat the cooked pasta – we like tubular bucatini – with the mixture, butter, the rest of the kernels and a little of the pasta cooking water to help the sauce cling.
The result is a rich, slightly sweet pasta dish that won’t weigh you down.
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
1 pound corn kernels, cut from the ears or frozen but thawed, drained and patted dry (about 3 cups)
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens reserved separately
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 pound bucatini pasta OR spaghetti
4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
1 or 2 Fresno OR jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
In a blender, puree 2 cups of corn, the scallion whites, ½ cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain. In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter. Add the corn puree and remaining kernels, then cook, stirring, until darkened slightly. Off heat, add the pasta, cheese and chilies, then toss, adding cooking water to thin. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with scallion greens.