Pasta Salad: “The Corn One”

A corn pasta salad, from the cookbook Cool Pasta: Reinventing the Pasta Salad by Tom Jackson, published by Hardie Grant.

This recipe for corn pasta salad appears in Cool Pasta: Reinventing the Pasta Salad by Tom Jackson, published by Hardie Grant.

“Pantry? Meet the cooler.”

Roasty-toasty, simple-yet-effective, summer-time action. I like lots of mint in this, but reduce it a bit or replace it with basil if you fancy. If you’re planning on making enough for lunch tomorrow, toast the corn in olive oil, not butter. Seriously, what’s not to like here, folks?

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  • 50g (2oz) sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, or a mix
  • 25g (1oz) unsalted butter
  • 250g (9oz) frozen or fresh
  • sweetcorn kernels
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon pul biber or other mild
  • chilli flakes (optional)
  • 60g (2oz) block of Parmesan or Pecorino (or vegetarian alternative), blitzed to crumbs in a blender or finely grated
  • 3 1⁄2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 400g (14oz) penne or another medium tubular pasta shape
  • 10–15g (1⁄2oz) fresh mint leaves, to taste, bundled and thinly sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


Grab a large, heavy frying pan and dry-toast the seeds over a medium heat
for about 5 minutes, tossing frequently, until visibly well toasted (I like them
deeply browned). Tip out into a bowl to cool.

Add the butter to the same pan and allow to foam, then tip in the sweetcorn,
season lightly with salt and spread out in an even layer. When the corn has
lost its frost (if using fresh, simply wait for the kernels to heat through),
begin to toss or stir occasionally, continuing to cook for about 10 minutes,
until all the corn kernels are evenly caramelised. Stir through the oregano,
chilli flakes (if using) and a good amount of black pepper, then immediately
remove from the heat and leave to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the blitzed or grated Parmesan with the lemon juice
and olive oil.

Cook the pasta in salty boiling water until slightly al dente (1 minute less
than the total packet instructions). Drain and rinse until the pasta is warm.
Drain again, then add to the large bowl with the Parmesan and lemon
dressing. Add the roasted corn (making sure to scrape in any spices from
the pan) and toss well to combine. Rest briefly, then toss again with the
toasted seeds and the mint. Serve.

This recipe for corn pasta salad was discussed on an edition of Central Time‘s Food Friday. Listen to the episode here.

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