This delicious mushroom corn pasta features earthy mushrooms, charred corn, and a light cream sauce. It is a quick, easy and satisfying meatless pasta dish you can throw together in half an hour.
This dish is inspired by the corn pasta I had at Marea restaurant in New York last year. I was intrigued by the combination of sweet corn, mushrooms, and pasta – so many flavors and textures in one bite. It was among the most brilliant pasta dishes I have ever tried. I’m also happy with my homemade version of the dish which is flavorful and light though it isn’t exactly the same as the one I had at Marea.
Marea is an Italian and seafood restaurant with two Michelin stars in New York. Though we weren’t very impressed with the crudo and seafood entreés we ordered that night, their pasta and desserts completely blew us away. Despite being a restaurant with two stars, it’s not too hard to get a reservation there just several days in advance. I totally recommend dining at Marea for their pasta and desserts :).
How to Make Mushroom Corn Pasta
This mushroom corn pasta tastes quite sophisticated in my opinion, but it requires only a few easy-to-find ingredients. They are pasta, sweet corn, mushrooms, butter, cream, parmesan cheese, garlic and fresh thyme. No meat, but I think you will like this fulfilling vegetarian pasta.
How tasty this dish will turn out depends on quality of the sweet corn, which should have even and plump kernels. We want sweet and juicy corn kernels in our pasta right :). For mushrooms, I use brown mushrooms, but feel free to experiment with other flavorful mushrooms like chanterelles.
For pasta, I use orecchiette which have a round, concave shape. They are perfect for this dish because you can scoop up orecchiette, corn kernels and mushroom slices with your fork easily when eating. If you cannot find this pasta at your local grocery stores, you can buy it on Amazon or go with other short pasta shapes you have.
Cooking Mushroom Corn Pasta
One reason why I love this mushroom corn pasta (and this shrimp scallop pasta) is I can put it together in 30 minutes.
To ensure the dish comes out delicious, it’s important to brown the mushrooms and corn kernels to concentrate their flavors. It’s best to use a stainless steel (or cast-iron) skillet for this task. I use my All-Clad stainless steel sauté pan which works wonderfully. You may also need to adjust heat and cooking time depending on your stovetop. I have a gas cooktop which cooks faster than an electric one.
Once the corn kernels and mushrooms have developed nice colors, all you need to do is to add the remaining ingredients to the pan and toss them together. I don’t use a lot of butter or cream in the dish, just enough to add some richness and smoothness. I often feel a heavy cream sauce easily overpowers natural flavors of other ingredients. Please feel free to add more or less to your liking :).
Mushroom Corn Pasta
- 8 oz pasta, preferably orecchiette
- 2 ears of corn
- 12 oz brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme (about 3-4 sprigs of thyme)
- 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (plus more, to serve)
- olive oil
- chopped parsley (to serve)
- Prepare all ingredients. Separate corn kernels from the cobs and discard the cobs. Slice mushrooms, chop thyme, parsley and garlic, and grate parmesan cheese.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add olive oil and a generous amount of salt to the water. Add pasta and cook to near al dente (about a minute less than package instructions). Reserve about 2/3 cup of pasta cooking liquid.
- Place a sauté pan over medium heat. Add some olive oil to coat the pan, then add corn kernels. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until they start to develop colors. Some of the corn kernels will start to pop and jump around at that point. Transfer to a plate.
- Add more oil if the pan looks too dry. Increase the heat to medium high and add mushroom slices. Sauté until they are brown and lose a lot of volume. It can take 5-6 minutes, depending on your stove. Add butter, garlic and thyme, and season with some salt and pepper. Sauté for another 30 seconds until fragrant and butter is melted.
- Add reserved pasta cooking liquid and heavy cream to the pan. Stir and scrape the pan. Continue to add pasta, corn kernels and parmesan cheese. Toss everything together and cook until flavors are combined. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to your liking. If the pasta is too dry, you may add a splash of pasta water or heavy cream.
- Transfer to serving plates and garnish with more parmesan and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.