Parmesan Corn and Zucchini Pasta is a quick and easy, healthy summer pasta dish to love all year. It’s utterly simple to make with fresh summer vegetables, like corn and zucchini, along with flavorful herbs and pasta.
There is no cream in this light and healthy zucchini pasta. But it’s filled with flavor from fresh summer herbs, zucchini, and corn. A splash of lemon juice at the end brightens this easy, flavorful, delicious dish.
Plus, it’s ready in 20 minutes or less and when refrigerated and drizzled with olive oil, becomes a delicious pasta salad too! Can you say… leftovers?! In the best possible way.
But pasta, in general, is such a great idea for summer. Often it’s packed with summer vegetables, and herbs growing profusely in the summer sun.
And by late July, early August, I’m thinking about all things zucchini. For another take on zucchini pasta, you might also like Easy Zucchini Pasta with Butter Garlic Sauce.
This recipe is yet another to add to our summer favorites.
Parmesan Corn and Zucchini Pasta Ingredients
Gather these simple ingredients for this delicious zucchini pasta. The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Orecchiette or farfalle pasta, cooked
- Olive oil and butter for flavor
- Garlic cloves
- Fresh zucchini
- Fresh corn (frozen works fine too)
- Italian seasoning
- Red pepper flakes
- Lemon juice
- Shaved Parmesan
- Fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, or parsley
Pasta: I prefer the shape of orecchiette pasta but farfalle or even penne would work equally well.
Corn: This pasta is best at the height of corn season. Fresh summer ears of corn can not be beaten. However, I’ve also made it with out-of-season corn and even frozen corn. And it’s still delicious! You will need about 1 cup corn kernels; so 1 to 2 ears of corn should be plenty. If you have excess corn, go ahead and add it to the pasta.
Zucchini: As you know, zucchini sizes range widely. You want 2 to 3 cups of diced zucchini, although that is not a hard and fast rule. I’m using 4 small zucchini so that when I quarter the squash and dice it, the size is similar to the orecchiette pasta.
Fresh Herbs: At the end of cooking, you will toss in fresh herbs. It’s an important element in the dish and brings such a beautiful, summery flavor. Try not to skip it. Herb options you may want to consider would be fresh torn basil, which is one of my favorites both for flavor and fragrance, or oregano, thyme, parsley, or a combination of your favorite herbs.
Pasta Water: Be sure to reserve about 1 cup of pasta water. You will use anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup to create a delicious pasta sauce. But I like to reserve 1 cup… just in case.
How to Cook Pasta
I always say to follow the package instructions in cooking pasta. Here’s an overview of generally the best way to cook pasta:
- Fill a large, tall pot with water and place over high heat.
- Bring the water to a boil and add salt. For 1 lb of pasta, you should add about 1 tablespoon of salt (kosher is best) to 4 quarts of water.
- Once the salt dissolves, toss in the pasta and bring it back to a boil.
- Cook the pasta according to the time indicated on the package. Often for al dente, I will cook for about 1 minute less than indicated.
How to Make Corn and Zucchini Pasta
Step-by-step instructions for this zucchini pasta are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here is an overview:
Begin by cooking the pasta according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, dice the zucchini and cut the corn from the cob, unless you are using frozen.
Then in a skillet, cook garlic and scallions in oil and butter until fragrant. Then stir in the zucchini and corn and cook until tender.
Add the pasta and pasta water to the skillet, tossing to coat. Stir in fresh herbs and serve.
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- 12 ounces orecchiette or farfalle pasta, cooked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 small zucchini, diced
- 1 cup fresh corn (frozen works fine too)
- 3 to 4 scallions (keep white and green parts separate)
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (*see notes)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- fresh lemon juice, to taste
- 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- fresh torn basil, oregano, or parsley
- Cook pasta to al dente in salted water according to package instruction; about 9 minutes for orecchiette. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
- Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and the white part of the scallions; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant; about 1 minute.
- Stir in zucchini, corn, and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally until the zucchini is tender and cooked through; about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add pasta and half of the reserved pasta water to the skillet, tossing to coat. Cook for 1 minute and add additional pasta water as needed. Stir in the green part of the scallions, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve in pasta bowls, garnish with more scallion greens, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 373Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 449mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 12g