My husband and I make this caprese pasta umpteen times each summer, especially in July and August when we can get homegrown tomatoes (ours or a nearby farm). It’s light, delicious and, aside from a bit of chopping, easy to make. The ‘caprese’ part of the pasta (everything except the pasta) can be made earlier in the day and kept in the refrigerator. Just make sure that you bring it to room temperature (30 minutes to an hour) before adding it to the pasta.
In my (humble) opinion, the original recipe used too much olive oil and not enough mozzarella cheese, so I’ve amended the recipe. However, you may want to play with the measurements a bit until you get it to your exact liking (the recipe called for 1 cup of olive oil and 1 lb. of mozzarella).
Caprese Pasta (adapted from Food & Wine, May 1997)
- 1 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small dice
- 8 medium tomatoes, cut into small dice*
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup olive oil (and up to 1 cup)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- crushed red pepper
- 1 1/2 lb. pasta (bow ties, spaghetti, fettucini, orecchiette …your choice)
- In a bowl, toss the mozzarella with the tomatoes, garlic, oil, basil and salt. Season generously with black pepper and crushed red pepper**. Let stand 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a stockpot of water to boil. Salt the water and stir in the pasta. Boil, stirring occasionally, until al dente (look to your pasta package directions for timing); drain well.
- Return the pasta to the pot; let sit one to two minutes. Then add the tomato and mozzarella mixture to the pot and toss very well. Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!
*firm tomatoes like Romas and Juliettes are great – but any tomato is fine to use!
**you don’t have to use the crushed red pepper liberally if you’d prefer not to. But do use at least a bit – it really adds to the dish.
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