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This pasta with corn and bacon is currently Ella’s favorite meal. Spaghetti gets twirled around a dead-simple sauce of bacon, sweet corn, garlic and shallots, and is then sprinkled with a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese, chives and a drizzle of lime juice (which might sound surprising, but it acts like an Instagram filter, brightening everything up). Ella has asked me to make it almost every week since corn came in season, and since I’m an awesome mom, I’ve almost always obliged.

Close up of pasta with corn and bacon in a skillet

Pasta + corn + bacon = xoxo

Ok; it actually has nothing to do with being a good mom—I just happen to like it as much as she does. This pasta is straightforward and easy to make, but it hits all the right notes, with saltiness from the bacon, sweetness from the corn and an umami kick from the Parmesan. Pair it with a plate of sliced tomatoes, and oh baby, life just got really, really good.

Pasta with sweet corn and bacon

Sweet corn pasta recipe

When sweet corn is in season, we look for any and every way to gobble it up! In this recipe, the kernels from three cobs get cooked right in the same pot as the pasta. When the spaghetti is just about done cooking the kernels get added to the pot (since they only cook for a minute, they retain their bright color and pop of sweetness). The spaghetti and corn are then drained and tossed with a warm bacon, garlic and shallot mixture. Some of the reserved pasta water ties everything together and creates a glossy sauce.

Pasta with sweet corn and bacon

Lightened-up carbonara

This pasta with corn and bacon tastes like a lightened-up version of carbonara (no heavy egg sauce!). A shower of parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of chives is all you need for garnish.

School starts next week, which means summer is rapidly coming to an end (nooo!!!!). With our busy back-to-school schedules kicking in, I’ve no doubt this pasta with corn and bacon will remain in high rotation until corn season ends. You know, since I’m such a kick-ass mom and all that.

Overhead shot of bowl of pasta with parmesan cheese and grater on the side.

Other corn recipes to try:

Get the recipe!

Pasta with Corn & Bacon

This straightforward pasta is simple but utterly satisfying. Spaghetti gets twirled around a dead-simple sauce of bacon, sweet corn, garlic and shallots, and is then sprinkled with a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of lime juice (which brightens everything up). The sweetness from the corn is the perfect counterpoint to the salty bacon and cheese. If your bacon is really fatty, feel free to drain off some fat before adding the shallots and garlic—you’re aiming for about 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword pasta with corn, pasta with corn and bacon, pasta with corn recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Nicki Sizemore

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces meaty bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces spaghetti (regular or gluten-free)
  • Kernels from 3 ears of corn
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives, plus more for serving
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Put the bacon in a large skillet (the largest you’ve got!) and place it over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp.
  3. Add the shallot and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 2 minutes. Set the skillet aside.
  4. Season the boiling water with salt, and add the spaghetti. Set a timer for 1 minute before the package directions for al dente. When the timer goes off, add the corn kernels. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain.
  5. Slide the drained pasta and corn into the skillet with the bacon and turn the heat to medium. Add about half of the reserved cooking water (or more as needed), stirring, until the pasta is coated and looks glossy. Season generously with salt and pepper (this is key—you will need more than you think). Remove the pan from the heat and add the lime juice, Parmesan and chives. Drizzle in a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and/or lime juice, as needed.
  6. Twirl the spaghetti into bowls and garnish with more Parmesan and chives.

Recipe Notes

Tips: 

  • I love this dish with spaghetti, but you can use any long noodle shape.
  • I prefer the smokiness of bacon with the sweet corn, but you could use pancetta instead.
  • Be sure to reserve some of the pasta cooking water, which will help to bind all of the ingredients together and create a glossy sauce.  
  • Use your best quality olive oil for drizzling over the pasta – this is the time to pull out the good stuff! 
  • If you can’t find chives you can use other herbs instead! Think chopped parsley, basil or scallions.