Pasta with Tomatoes, Corn, and Feta

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In Season: Tomatoes

My friend Bryan asked me for suggestions for utilizing the abundant crop of tomatoes in his backyard (he lives in California, where tomatoes lazily ripen into the early fall). I told him to can them, but not everyone has the energy or equipment to do that. In the meantime, you can always eat lots of fresh tomatoes. It’s your last summer fling.

This pasta dish came about from my last visit to my parents’ house. They had corn on the cob, beautiful beefsteak tomatoes, and fresh basil in dire need of use, so I threw them all together for a simple but flavorful pasta dish. Juicy tomatoes help make the sauce for the pasta, so don’t use plum tomatoes for this. If you don’t have fresh corn, use frozen, which is often superior to out-of-season fresh corn.


  • (Serves 4)
  • 1/2 pound uncooked pasta (spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccini)
  • 3 to 4 large, ripe tomatoes, cored (the more tomatoes the better)
  • 2 to 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
  • 2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch (three cups loosely packed) basil, thinly sliced
  • 4 to 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled


  1. 1.

    Put a large pot of salted water on to boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

  3. 3.

    Toast the corn in a heavy, dry medium skillet over medium-high, stirring occasionally, heat until you see charred spots on the corn, 2 to 3 minutes. Add toasted corn to tomatoes.

  4. 4.

    In a small skillet, heat the garlic and olive oil over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is a light golden-brown (do not allow to burn). Pour over corn-tomato mixture. Stir in the basil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  5. 5.

    When the pasta is al dente, drain it quickly, allowing some of the cooking water to cling. Add pasta to tomato-corn mixture, toss with the feta cheese, and season to taste with more salt and pepper.

  6. 6.

    Note: You can substitute Parmesan cheese for the feta, if you wish.

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