Charred Corn & Clam Pasta With Tomatoes

June 24, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food stylist: Yossy Arefi. Prop stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I have a confession: I did something with this recipe that I promised myself I would never do as I know how annoying it is to be on the receiving end of it. And yet, here I am, doing it and trying to convince you that it’s okay.

I didn’t use the entire pound of pasta—I only called for about half of the package. This might sound like a silly, dramatic confession, but if you’ve ever made a recipe that called for any less than 16 ounces and have been left with handfuls of different shaped pastas from various recipes—all with different cooking times, mind you—then you know why this is terrible. It’s my pet peeve when recipes ask you to only use a small amount of something or leave you with odd bits and ends that can’t be easily used so they sit in your fridge or pantry rotting or gathering dust until you move.

I didn’t want to do it, I promise. I tried using the entire package, but it ended up making the pasta the shining star of this recipe, when it’s actually meant to be the background player. It’s just the vehicle for the real stars to shine: the crunchy bites of caramelized corn tucked in the tender clam shells; juicy tomatoes that brim and burst with natural sweetness and acidity once cooked; and a briny seafood broth that all of the ingredients swim in. Topped with basil, it’s a dish that celebrates the glory days of summer.

Some things to note with this recipe:

You’ll want to use a large Dutch oven or similar-sized pot as it will get quite full when you add the pasta; if you decide to use something smaller, like a skillet, just mix carefully or transfer to a large serving bowl before combining. Make sure to ladle any corn, tomatoes, and liquid hiding at the bottom of the pot in your serving bowl for more of that briny flavor.

Clams can be gritty, so it’s best to soak them in salted cold water for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking to let them clean out any grit themselves.

Removing kernels from the cob can be tricky, as kernels tend to fly all over the place. To avoid that, stand up the shucked cob in a high-rimmed or prep bowl and use a knife to slice off the kernels neatly inside the bowl.

And last, I don’t want leave you completely annoyed with me, so here are some ideas for what to do with the remaining pasta:

- Make this recipe twice! If you use about half a box of pasta the first time, then you’ll have the right amount remaining for the second time you make this.
- Cook the entire pound of pasta, but only add about half of it to the clams. Toss the remainder with oil or butter and squeeze over some lemon, serving it on the side in case anyone wants extra. It might be wonderful to soak up any liquid lingering in the bottom of your bowl. (This would also work well to serve children who want their own bowl.)
- Or, reserve it for a solo night when you want to make something quick, whether a pasta tossed in garlic oil with some fresh baby spinach to wilt.
- Break up the pasta and stir it into a soup to bulk it up and add some starch.
- You could also skip the pasta entirely and serve this with some crusty bread to soak up the juice.
- Or, do none of these suggestions, and keep it in your drawer until you move; every time you see it, shake your head and mutter: “That Yasmin and her 8 to 10 ounces of pasta!!”

I really hope it’s not the last option. —yasminfahr

What You'll Need
  • 8 to 10 ounces ounces dried linguine, spaghetti, bucatini, or other thin, long pasta (about half of a standard 16-ounce package—you can eyeball this amount)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pasta
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 2 scallions, light green and white parts only, sliced and divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more as desired
  • 3 pounds littleneck clams (about 24 to 30 clams), cleaned very well to remove grit (see author notes)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, mint, or parsley leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped or torn
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving (optional)
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until almost al dente, about 3 minutes less than the package instructions. Drain in a colander in the sink and toss with olive oil so the noodles don’t stick together.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or similar deep pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the corn, season with salt, and spread out in an even layer, then cook untouched for 2 minutes. Stir and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn becomes a vibrant yellow and starts to brown, 4 to 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and white parts of the scallion, season with salt and red-pepper flakes, and stir to combine; cook until the tomato skins start to blister, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  3. Add the clams and white wine, cover, and cook until the clams open, 6 to 8 minutes more (larger clams might take longer), shaking the pan occasionally. Reduce the heat as needed to maintain an active simmer.
  4. Turn down the heat to low, then add the pasta, tossing to coat with the liquid and cooking until al dente, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in the arugula, letting it wilt, and remove any unopened clams. When you’re ready to eat, top with basil and green scallion parts and serve with lemon wedges.

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Yasmin is a recipe developer and cookbook author. Her first book, Keeping it Simple, is full of easy, weeknight one-pot recipes. Say hi to her online @yasminfahr!

1 Review

Judith N. August 2, 2021
Can canned clams be used?