Spaghetti with Sweet Corn Pesto (from Lidey Heuck)

It was a late summer night and our dear Joan was in the Instagram universe, tapping and swiping, looking for inspiration. Hopping on a wave of Stories, she found her golden nugget. It was a sweet woman speaking of an even sweeter recipe, Spaghetti with Sweet Corn Pesto (click to see this recipe...with more great photos…on Lidey’s blog). Under further investigation, Joan learned that the mastermind behind the recipe is Lidey Heuck, recipe and blog aficionado and assistant to our beloved Ina Garten! Turns out, Lidey is as sweet as her sweet corn and Joan and she became fast friendlies!

Make this recipe! Check out Lidey’s amazing blog, Lidey Likes, for even more drool- worthy ideas (like sheet pan chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches!!!).

And of course, have a look at Lidey’s Instagram page…after all, that’s how it all started!

Spaghetti with Sweet Corn Pesto

(Servings: 4-6)


  • extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup panko (Japanese bread flakes)
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3½ cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 6 ears of corn)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed with the flat side of a knife and peeled
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half through the stem
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces


First, make the spicy breadcrumbs. In a large (12-inch) sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the panko, crushed red pepper flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring very often, for 3-5 minutes, until the panko is golden brown. Remove to a small bowl to cool.

Wipe out the sauté pan with a paper towel, add 3 tablespoons olive oil, and heat over medium-low heat. Add the corn, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove ½ cup of the corn kernels and set aside. Transfer the rest of the corn and the garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Add 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and process until coarsely pureed. With the food processor running, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and process until smooth. Add the Parmesan and pulse until just combined.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a full rolling boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, then add the spaghetti and cook according to the directions on the box. While the pasta cooks, wipe out the sauté pan again. Transfer the corn pesto to the pan, add 1/4 cup of pasta water, and bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring until smooth. (Add another 1/4 cup pasta water if the pesto is still very thick.)

When the pasta is finished cooking, use tongs to transfer it to the sauté pan (do not drain!) and toss it with the sauce. Add the cherry tomatoes and reserved corn kernels and toss again. Serve the pasta in bowls, topped with spicy breadcrumbs and torn basil.

Copyright 2019, Lidey Heuck, All Rights Reserved
Posted with permission from the author

Lidey Heuck is a cook, recipe developer, and blogger.  For the last six years, she has worked as an assistant to Ina Garten, managing her social media platforms and testing recipes. Lidey is a recipe contributor to the New York Times and has been featured in Food & Wine, Food Network Magazine, and on  Lidey is also the author of her own food and entertaining blog, where she shares her recipes, travels, and the occasional amateur wine column.  She lives in East Hampton, New York with her Welsh Terrier, Winkie.