Sweet Corn & Basil Penne Casserole

20130526-DSC_9155-2Hello! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. My weekend was really nice even if I was not feeling well. My body is crazy slow at recovering from jet lag! Saturday, Jesse and I checked out some neat old buildings downtown in an event called “Doors Open Winnipeg.” It was neat to learn the history of the buildings around our home. We live in an area where old warehouses and such have been transformed into condos, apartments, shops and restaurants. It was really fun learning more about our neighbourhood’s past. Saturday evening, Jesse and I met some of our friends for the “dinner-of-the-month” club. This month, we met up at an Argentine pizza place called Corrientes. Excellent food and even better company. After dinner, we went for some late-night gelato and laughed until our sides hurt.

Sunday, Jesse and I decided to make dinner together and then watch the TV series The Killing on Netflix. We were going to watch Arrested Development, but Jesse has to catch up a little bit on the first 3 seasons. For those of you who saw the new season, what did you think!? For dinner, we made this casserole filled with fresh corn, zucchini, a mixture of cheeses, lemon and basil. It was a nice light, summer-inspired dish!

Jesse is such a trooper – as are many food blogger spouses and significant others. Before we could eat, I dragged him outside to help me take some photos of the casserole. Since we live in a condo, a lot of our neighbours are constantly coming and going. Quite a few of them could not quite understand what was going on. Poor Jesse had to hold the casserole dish with lime green oven mitts while I photographed the food. I’m convinced our neighbours now think we are crazy. *hah* Oopsie!

And on that note – here’s wishing you all a wonderful week! Now that I’m in the swing of things again at home, I am hoping to have a new recipe post up on Thursday :)

Sweet Corn & Basil Penne Casserole

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 pound of dried whole wheat penne
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cups of frozen corn (thawed) or fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup of half & half cream
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 block of low-fat cream cheese or 1/2 cup of mascarpone; at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of grated parmesan cheese; divided
  • zest of one large lemon
  • juice of half a large lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup of chopped fresh basil


  1. Preheat oven to 350'F.
  2. Toss zucchini with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread zucchini on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast zucchini in the oven for 10 minutes (or until slightly tender).
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt. Cook penne according to package instructions until just al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water to lighten up the sauce.
  4. In a food processor, purée the corn, cream, and garlic. Add the mascarpone or cream cheese, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of parmesan cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Add the fresh basil and pulse until well-combined. Note: if you find that the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of reserved pasta water. You want sauce to be a bit saucy!
  5. Combine the creamy corn sauce with the cooked penne. Add in the roasted zucchini. Pour into a medium-sized casserole dish then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Bake casserole for 25 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned.


Source: The Fig Tree (sauce loosely based on a recipe from Weeknights with Giada)


    • thefigtree says

      Me too! I’m a sucker for a good pasta dish. This one is really nice, as it’s a bit lighter and less rich :)

    • thefigtree says

      *haha* He is! So glad he puts up with my craziness. I suppose it’s worth it for all of the yummy food! *haha*

  1. Barb says

    Hello Courtney. I’m really enjoying your recipes and have a technical question. Our household tries to stay away from media and computers around our children, so I print off recipes and keep them in a pile in my kitchen to use again and again. I can’t find any way to print your recipes other than cutting and pasting to a Word document. Am I not looking in the right place? Thanks so much. Barb

    • thefigtree says

      Hello Barb! Thank you for the comment :) I am in the middle of trying to find the best way to allow readers to both print and save my recipes. I’m hoping to have it all up and running in the next few weeks. Stay tuned! :)

    • thefigtree says

      Thanks! I think I am finally getting back into the swing of things. :) I cannot wait until the farmer’s market opens this weekend here, so I can start buying proper fresh, local spring produce! Hopefully my sister plants a garden again this year too – so I can get an abundance of zucchini this summer as well!

  2. says

    We haven’t had the chance to watch the new season of Arrested Development yet, but I’m totally looking forward to it. :) I’m loving this casserole–corn and basil are two of my summertime favorites!

    • thefigtree says

      Me too! I could not wait another month to try this recipe out. I’ll make it again once I have some fresh corn from the market and zucchini from the garden :)

    • thefigtree says

      Me too! I love when you have so much fresh zucchini and you don’t know what to do with it all! :)

  3. says

    Sounds like you have a lot of cool restaurants in Winnipeg! I love the combo of corn and zucchini and I don’t see it in pasta recipes often, so this is a great idea! I bet your neighbours were hoping to try some themselves – don’t be surprised if they start knocking on your door!

    • thefigtree says

      We have a lot of neat restaurants popping up around town these days. Great for my taste buds, bad for my wallet. *hehe* I think you are right – once my neighbours get over the fact that I’m crazy, maybe they’ll want to come over for dinner! *haha*

  4. Julia derksen says

    We are catching up on Arrested Development too, it was so long ago when we first watched them. We did watch the first new episode and it did t seem as good, but we are now waiting until we are fully caught to watch the rest.

    This looks so yummy! A bunch of my favourite things in one casserole!

  5. says

    I was so desperate for light this past winter that I set up a little makeshift studio at the edge of the garage. I’d open the garage door and start shooting and the neighbors would drive by slowly gawking. I felt like such a dork! It’s true about our troopers – my guy patiently waits for dinner while holding the foam core reflector with one hand staving off the toddler with another. And I get so frustrated and grumpy when I’m trying to quickly shoot a meal we’re waiting to eat – and he puts up with that, too. Good times all around! ;)

    Anyway, this recipe looks fabulous. Total comfort food and perfect for a day like today (in fact, I think I’m going to give this a go for dinner!)

  6. says

    Ha! It is always my mailman that walks into my photo shoots, I can’t help but offer him a little of whatever I am making….but really who wants to eat a slice of pizza or a tart while delivering them mail (they are timed!) – this looks perfect, I can’t wait to dive into the new season of AD with my Sis hopefully this weekend!!!!

    • thefigtree says

      Awe, that’s so cute! I bet your mailman loves stopping by! My neighbours definitely think I’m crazy. I’ve stopped trying to explain myself as they rush past me. LOL. Screaming “I’m a food blogger” at them just does not seem to help my cause. LOL

  7. says

    Haha – the story about photographing the food cracks me up. I always feel silly when I’m out on the deck taking pictures of food, especially when the neighbors are out and about! This recipe sounds amazing!

  8. says

    Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!!!! It sounds like you had a pretty awesome week! I’m behind on Arrested Development as well, and I’ve also considered watching The Killing! Now I don’t know what to watch!!


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