Pasta is a popular go-to for a quick and easy dinner. Shrimp, Corn, and Tomato Pasta is an easy summer meal that comes together in under an hour.
Enjoy the snap of shrimp in a buttery tomato and corn sauce. Garnished with crunchy bread crumbs and shredded parmesan cheese with fresh basil.
The pasta rut
It's dinner time and the last thing you want to do is think about what to prepare. Often, it is pasta you reach for - a quick and easy meal. And who doesn't like pasta?
It is easy to fall into a rut, preparing the same pasta. Almost by rote. Does buttered pasta with parmesan sound familiar, parents?
With just a little more time, you can prepare this easy summer pasta recipe.
Full of the bright veggies of summer and with a crunchy bread crumb and parmesan topping.
Why this recipe works
To fully develop the flavor in the pasta sauce, the vegetables are caramelized. This not only heightens their natural sweetness but also adds a little nuttiness for a richer depth of flavor.
With a hot skillet, it doesn't take long for the transformation of the vegetables to occur. Not only will the flavors be altered, but also the texture and shape.
Preparing the shrimp
First, if you are using fresh shrimp, it needs to be peeled and deveined. Some people start to peel shrimp by removing the tail and then proceeding with the rest of the shell. You can start at the other end if you prefer.
With a knife, cut along the middle of the outside curve of the shrimp. Once you make the cut, you can see the dark vein. This is full of sand and grit. While it isn't absolutely necessary to remove the vein, if left in the shrimp, you will feel the grit in your food.
You can always use frozen shrimp. Defrost it fully and place on a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.
Dab and dry the shrimp with a paper towel. Sprinkle smoked paprika on top and set the shrimp aside as you prep the rest of the recipe.
How to prepare Shrimp, Corn, and Tomato Pasta
Bread Crumb Topping
The first step is to toast fresh bread crumbs which will add a crunchy texture to the pasta.
This is a great way to utilize bread that isn't the freshest. Tear up a few pieces of bread and chop them into smaller bits in a food processor. Toss the bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Bake in the oven (350 degrees) until golden brown and crunchy. Toss with ⅓ cup of shredded parmesan cheese. Set the sheet pan to the side as you prepare the vegetables.
Caramelized corn and shallots
Start with a hot skillet. Over medium-high heat, add ¼ cup of olive oil to the pan. Once hot add thinly sliced shallots to the oil and occasionally stir. The shallots will start to wilt and turn golden brown as the present sugars start to caramelize.
After 5 minutes, add the corn kernels to the skillet and season with kosher salt and pepper. You want the corn to start to brown. It may smell like popcorn as more kernels are turning a golden brown. Because of the sugar present in the shallots and the corn, the bottom of the pan may start to turn brown. This fond is gold. This is what adds a lovely depth of flavor to the sauce.
When the bottom of the pan starts to turn brown from the caramelizing sugars of the shallots and corn, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan. This will release the "fond" from the pan which adds flavor to the sauce. Add more water as needed. Just don't let the bottom of the pan turn dark brown or burnt.
After the corn has cooked for 6-7 minutes, remove the vegetables from the skillet and set them aside.
Blistered cherry tomato sauce
Fresh tasting and easy to make, blistered cherry tomato sauce requires just a few ingredients.
In the skillet used for the browned corn, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, sprinkle in a ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. This is a guide - if want more or less spice in your sauce, adjust the amount of crushed red pepper flakes to your liking. Add sliced garlic at the same time.
Once you smell the garlic, which only takes about a minute, add the cherry tomatoes. Give the pan a swirl so that the tomatoes get coated in olive oil. The tomatoes may start to char slightly on the bottom, which is fine as long as they don't burn.
As the tomatoes cook, they will start to collapse. You can press on the tomatoes to pop them as they soften. Occasionally stir the tomato sauce as it becomes creamier.
Once the tomatoes have released their juices and have started to break down, add the corn and shallots back to the pan. Stir everything together and adjust the seasoning.
How to cook shrimp
The beauty of shrimp is it cooks in very little time. The problem with shrimp is it overcooks in very little time. There are some visual cues that will tell you the shrimp is cooked.
- Shrimp will become opaque and pink in color as it cooks. As soon as this happens, stop cooking the shrimp.
- As it cooks, shrimp will start to curl up. Use the alphabet. If the shrimp is undercooked, it will have a flexible U shape. If the shrimp is shaped like a C, it is cooked correctly and is ready to be eaten. If the shrimp is a very tight O shape, it is overcooked and likely rubbery.
- It only take about 4 - 5 minutes to fully cook a shrimp. However, the size of the shrimp can alter the cooking time.
Bringing it all together
Once the sauce is combined, the shrimp are added by nestling them among the corn and tomatoes. The hot sauce will cook the shrimp in about 4 minutes. For an luxurious touch, add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and for bright flavor add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Give the sauce a stir to incorporate everything. Check the seasoning and adjust to your liking.
Have your favorite kind of pasta ready to add to the sauce as soon as the shrimp are almost done. Cook the pasta until it is not quite al dente. I try to stop cooking when the pasta needs about 1-2 more minutes. Save about a cup of pasta water. If you want more sauce to coat the noodles, add the pasta water ¼ cup at a time.
Add the pasta to the skillet and combine with the sauce to continue cooking. Basil adds fresh flavor to the sauce. This is a rustic dish - just tear the basil into pieces as you add it to the skillet. This quick pasta recipe is done in one or two more minut
Easy pasta recipe for dinner
It takes about 45 minutes for this flavorful and buttery pasta dinner to be ready to serve. After spooning it into bowls, I garnish the pasta with the crispy parmesan bread crumbs. A nice bit of crunch as you twirl a noodle onto your fork.
Make sure you have a little bread on the side when you serve Shrimp, Corn, and Tomato Pasta. You won't want to waste any sauce!
- I used 26-30 sized shrimp for this recipe. Each serving has 6-7 shrimp.
- Use fresh, frozen, or precooked shrimp. Add the precooked shrimp at the last minute so it doesn't turn rubbery.
- Use fresh corn cut off the cob, frozen, or canned corn.
Another shrimp recipe - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/grilled-harissa-shrimp-sandwich/
Another quick and easy pasta - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/roasted-caponata-pasta/
Shrimp, Corn, and Tomato Pasta
- 1 large skillet
- 1 stockpot
- 1 colander
- 1 cutting board
- 1 sheet pan
- food processor
Bread Crumb Topping
- 1½ cups bread crumbs (2 slices of bread, 1.6 ounces/46 grams)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 pound shrimp (26-30 count)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ cup olive oil (4 tablespoons
- 2½ cups corn kernels (3 ears of corn/14 ounces/379 grams)
- ½ cup shallots, thinly sliced (2.4 ounces/68 grams)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 cups grape or cherry tomatoes (1½ pounds, 681 grams)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound pasta
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- .5 ounce basil
Bread Crumb Topping
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Break the slices of bread into chunks and add them to a food processor. Process until you have various sizes of bread crumbs. It's okay to have very small pieces with larger crumbs.
- Place the bread crumbs on a sheet pan. Combine with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. The bread crumbs need to be coated with the oil.
- Place the bread crumbs in the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes until brown and crispy. Once out of the oven, add the parmesan cheese to the warm bread crumbs, tossing to combine. Set aside to cool.
- Peel and devein the shrimp if using fresh. Lay the shrimp on a paper towel. Using another paper towel, pat the shrimp dry. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika on the shrimp.
- Start a pot of water on the stove for the pasta.
- Cut the corn off the cob. It is easiest if you lay the corn cob flat on a cutting board. Cut the kernels off one side then rotate the cob and continue until all the corn is removed.
- Thinly slice shallots until you have a generous ½ cup.
- Add a ¼ cup of olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced shallots. Make sure to stir the shallots so they do not burn.
- After 4-5 minutes and the shallots are wilted and starting to brown, add the corn kernels, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.
- Continue to stir, letting the corn start to brown. Saute for 6-7 minutes. If the bottom of the pan starts to turn brown from the caramelizing sugars of the shallots and corn, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan. This will release the "fond" from the pan which adds flavor to the sauce. Add more water as needed. Just don't let the bottom of the pan turn dark brown or burnt.
- While the corn is cooking, cut the garlic cloves into thin slices.
- Remove the corn and shallots from the skillet and set them aside. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and thinly sliced garlic.
- After 1 minute and you can smell the garlic, add the tomatoes to the pan. Give the pan a swirl to coat the tomatoes with olive oil.
- If the water in the stockpot is boiling, add the pasta. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water.
- As the tomatoes cook, they will start to collapse. You can press on the tomatoes to pop them as they soften. Occasionally stir the tomato sauce as it becomes creamier.
- After 6-8 minutes, add the corn and shallots back to the pan. Check the seasoning and adjust it to your liking.
- Check the pasta. When it is about 1-2 minutes away from being al dente, remove a cup of the pasta water and set it aside. Drain the pasta.
- Add the shrimp to the pan, nestling them into the sauce. The shrimp will be cooked in about 4-5 minutes.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the skillet. Completely stir all ingredients together.
- Add the drained pasta to the skillet when the shrimp is almost cooked. Stir to combine.
- If you feel the pasta needs more sauce, add ¼ cup of pasta water to the skillet. Stir to combine.
- Use an entire .5-ounce package of fresh basil. No need to cut the basil. Just tear it into small pieces. Incorporate into the pasta.
- To serve, add pasta to a bowl with 6 shrimp. Garnish with the parmesan bread crumbs.