Grilled Parmesan-Pesto Sweet Corn

Grilled Parmesan-Pesto Sweet Corn - 4 ingredients. 8 minutes cook time. The best summer side dish ever! |

In my opinion, summer in the Midwest is highlighted best by two great ingredients: Michigan cherries, and fresh sweet corn. The season for both of them is all too short, so it’s best to just go crazy on them while they’re around. To say that I haven’t eaten a pound of fresh cherries in one day would be a lie.

And to say that I don’t serve sweet corn as a side dish 4 nights a week when it’s at the peak of it’s season wouldn’t be true, either. I obviously believe in taking advantage of what we have, when we have it. But that doesn’t mean that I like to just serve corn + butter + salt + pepper every single time (although that’s great, too). Once in awhile, I like to make it a little more interesting.

Grilled Parmesan-Pesto Sweet Corn - 4 ingredients. 8 minutes cook time. The best summer side dish ever! |

This Grilled Parmesan-Pesto Sweet Corn is kind of like an Italian-inspired version of Mexican elote, if you will. You start with grilled corn-on-the-cob. It seems like everybody has their own way of grilling corn (in the husk, without the husk, in foil, etc.), but I’ll just tell you my way: I steam the corn until it’s 90% cooked first (I steam it in the microwave, because it’s easy) and then put it on the grill for some char. That’s it.

When the corn comes off the grill, you’ll want to slather it with basil pesto and then throw some Parmigiano Reggiano at the situation. No butter necessary – all the creaminess and tang you need will come from all of that luscious cheese. Red pepper flakes are optional, but encouraged, for a bit of spice.

Grilled Parmesan-Pesto Sweet Corn - 4 ingredients. 8 minutes cook time. The best summer side dish ever! |

Parmigiano Reggiano is exclusively from Italy and contains only 3 ingredients: milk, salt and rennet. It never has additives of any kind, BUT you do need to make sure you are buying authentic Parmigiano Reggiano and not an imposter. How to do this? Depending on how the wheel is cut, pre-cut chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano will often have pinhole dots on the rind, but you’ll want to ask your cheesemonger to be sure you’re getting the the real deal.

For more information about Parmigiano Reggiano, please visit or follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Yield: 4 servings

Grilled Parmesan-Pesto Sweet Corn

Grilled Parmesan-Pesto Sweet Corn
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes


  • 4 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked
  • 6 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Preheat grill for direct grilling over medium-high. Meanwhile, place corn in large microwave safe dish with 1/4 cup water; cover with paper towel or plastic wrap. Microwave on high 5 to 6 minutes or until tender crisp.
  2. Transfer corn to grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly charred; turning frequently. Transfer corn to serving platter. Brush all sides of corn with pesto and sprinkle with cheese. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve immediately.


Home Chef Tip: Don't have a microwave? Corn can also be boiled for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender crisp, before grilling.

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Parmigiano Reggiano. Sponsored posts help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. All opinions are 100% my own.