Farfalle with Zucchini, Corn and Mascarpone

Here's a perfect creamy summer pasta that makes the most of seasonal zucchini and fresh corn. The mascarpone cheese gives it a creamy sauce, brightened with a burst of lemon zest.

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Farfalle with Zucchini, Corn and mascarpone cheese on a black plate on a wooden table.

The Perfect Summer Pasta

Why is Farfalle with Zucchini, Corn and Mascarpone the perfect summer pasta? So many reasons. First of all, it takes advantage of the delicious fresh corn and zucchini that is abundant and at its peak in the summer time. This is especially true for corn – there really is no other time to enjoy corn off the cob. Secondly, the shape of farfalle reminds me of the sun shining down. Finally, the mascarpone cheese that makes this pasta so delicious without being too decadent or heavy is just a delicious way to have a creamy pasta that completely satisfies.

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Ingredients on a cutting board - corn, zucchini, mascarpone cheese, chicken stock, onion, lemon and farfalle.

Mascarpone and Other Ingredients

Mascarpone cheese is an Italian cow’s milk cheese that is similar to cream cheese, but has at least twice as much fat. Don’t let that scare you – it’s that fat content that makes it super smooth and delicious. It can usually be found in the deli cheese section of your grocery store, but if you can’t find it, substitute regular full fat cream cheese in an equal quantity. All the other ingredients in this recipe are very easy to find, especially in the summertime. (If it happens to be winter and you’re craving this pasta, you can substitute frozen corn kernels.)

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cutting zucchini on a cutting board with other ingredients in the background.

Dice the Zucchini

I like to dice the zucchini for this recipe, rather than slice it because it holds its texture better in little cubes. It still takes no time to sauté this into tender morsels of summer goodness.

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Zucchini, corn and onions in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

A Quick Sauté

You will need to cook the vegetables separately for this recipe, but they honestly take no more than 8 minutes, which you can do while the pasta is cooking, maximizing your efficiency if you’re in a rush. If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, you could opt to grill the corn to give it a little charred flavor if you like. 

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Four images of a saute pan: one with farfalle pasta, one with a wooden spoon adding mascarpone cheese, one with a wooden spoon stirring cheese into the pasta, and the last with zucchini and corn being added to the pasta.

Cooking the Pasta

The pasta cooks in a shallow pan for this recipe, which is not traditional. It also cooks in vegetable or chicken stock instead of water, which gives it a lot more flavor. Bring the stock and smashed garlic clove to a simmer and add the pasta. Cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat and simmer the pasta until the liquid is almost absorbed. Then, add water as needed – roughly ¾ cup. The timing will depend on the brand of pasta that you buy. You should have a little liquid left in the pan when the pasta is al dente. Don’t drain any liquid away. Instead, turn off the heat, stir in the cheese and thin with more hot water if you need to. Add the zucchini and corn mixture to the pasta and toss it all together. Finish with the fresh herbs and lemon and you have just made the perfect summer pasta – Farfalle with Zucchini, Corn and Mascarpone.

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Farfalle with Zucchini, Corn and mascarpone cheese on a black plate on a wooden table.

How to Serve

You can serve this pasta in a bowl, on a plate, with a side salad or by itself, but serve it hot out of the pan. A little sprinkling of extra herbs and lemon zest on top is nice too. Enjoy!

 

 

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Farfalle with Zucchini, Corn and Mascarpone

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 15 m
  • Total Time: 25 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion finely diced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large zucchini diced ½-inch (about 4 cups)
  • 1 ear corn kernels cut off the cob
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 8 ounces dried farfalle pasta
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese about ½ cup
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon zested

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the olive oil, onion and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet and sauté for a minute or two. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the zucchini is tender. Add the corn kernels and continue to sauté for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. Bring the stock and garlic to a boil in a large sauté pan. Add the farfalle, cover the pan with a lid and let the pasta simmer, adding the water as needed (when the liquid disappears, add more water). Simmer until the pasta is al dente – timing according to the package instructions. There should still be a little liquid left in the pan and the pasta should be al dente. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Add the mascarpone cheese to the pasta and remaining liquid and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and add the zucchini and corn to the pasta. Add the fresh herbs and lemon zest and toss everything together.
  5. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve warm.
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