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Whole-Grain Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Corn

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4 to 6

Sweet, chewy dried tomatoes and brown butter infused with orange zest and spicy chile boost the whole-grain flavors of the pasta in this simple yet scrumptious weeknight dish. Thai basil has a peppery aroma with licorice notes that’s especially nice with the pasta and corn, but Italian basil can substitute.


  • Fine sea salt
  • 12 oz. whole-grain penne
  • 2-1/2 cups (12 oz.) fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into a few pieces
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest, preferably organic (from 1 large orange)
  • 1 Fresno or other small fresh red chile, minced (remove seeds and ribs for less heat)
  • 1 oz. (1 cup) finely grated pecorino romano; more for serving
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed torn fresh basil leaves (1/2 oz.), preferably Thai basil

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 370
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 130
  • Fat (g): 15
  • Saturated Fat (g): 9
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 35
  • Sodium (mg): 880
  • Carbohydrates (g): 54
  • Fiber (g): 6
  • Sugar (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 11


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. cook the pasta according to package directions until not quite al dente. Add the corn and cook for 1 minute.
  • Meanwhile, place a small heatproof bowl next to the stove. in a small heavy-duty saucepan (preferably stainless steel so you can monitor the color of the butter), melt the butter over medium-low heat and cook, watching closely and swirling occasionally, until it is golden brown with brown specks, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the orange zest and chile (it will sizzle and foam), and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, then immediately pour into the bowl.
  • Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and corn, and return the mixture to the pot or a large heated serving bowl. Using a large serving spoon, stir in 1/4 cup of the pasta water, the butter mixture, cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss vigorously for about 2 minutes until a glossy sauce forms, adding a bit more cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Season to taste with salt. Sprinkle with the basil. Serve immediately, passing more cheese at the table.


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