Full of seasonal flavors, this Creamy Corn & Zucchini Summer Skillet Pasta is an easy and utterly delicious meal that is perfect for any weeknight, coming together in 45 minutes or less!
Before anything else, start up your pasta water and begin grilling the corn (see note).
Meanwhile, cook up your bacon until just crispy in your largest non-stick skillet, if using. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Chop up the bacon into bite-size pieces once it’s cool enough to handle. Carefully remove the bacon fat and wipe down the pan for the remaining steps.
Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the zucchini in a single layer for 3-5 minutes per side, working in batches if necessary. Both sides should be lightly golden and a little browned. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Without cleaning the skillet, stream the heavy cream into the leftover oil, scraping up any browned bits and swirling them into the cream. Stir in the grated parmesan cheese, which will start to melt into the cream mixture, and then the fresh herbs, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to make the sauce. Once combined, toss the zucchini coins, roasted corn (and any remaining juices), and al dente pasta with the sauce. If it seems too dry, add a splash of reserved pasta water to bring things together (I usually add about ¼ cup, but this can vary).
Portion out the creamy pasta into bowls, topping with the chopped bacon and a hearty sprinkling of grated parmesan.
Timing: The first time you make this recipe, it might take you longer than 30 minutes if you aren’t familiar with all of the components. I’d allow yourself an hour, just in case and so you don’t feel rushed. Once you’re accustomed to the techniques though, you’ll be able to multitask and reduce the amount of time in half. In terms of order, I start the pasta boiling and grill the corn first, sauté the bacon and then the zucchini as those cook, and then the final components come together quickly with the cream sauce in the skillet.
Grilling Corn on the Stovetop: If, like me, you are not so lucky as to have a real grill to roast up your corn on the cobb, you have two options: You can grill the corn in a grill pan on the stove top, or cook it as you do normally. I use a cast iron grill pan, but be warned – it takes some time and can produce a good amount of smoke. Make sure you open those windows and have good ventilation, or you might end up setting off a smoke alarm!
For this method, heat your grill pan and brush with olive oil once hot. Place your shucked and cleaned corn on the cob in the pan, and rotate every few minutes to get an even char on the corn. This will take 15-20 minutes. When colored to your liking, remove to a high-sided bowl and cut the corn from the cob with a sharp knife, making sure to cut as close to the cob as possible so that you don’t miss out on any of the sweet juices.