I’m not a fan of hot weather. Actually, I hate hot weather. I am one of those people who loves the cozy feel of crisp Autumn days. I love sweaters and beef stew; the Autumn and Winter holidays and just the feeling of family togetherness that short days and long nights bring.
But one thing I absolutely adore about warmer weather is the food. I grow my own herbs every year. They are the only plants that don’t look at me, squeal in horror and die. So I grow basil, dill, sage, thyme, lavender and whatever else looks good at the store when I am out buying them. So every Spring
and a few gazillion times throughout the Spring and Summer until my family threatens to kill me if I make it one more time, I make Pasta Caprese. The combination of fresh basil, mozzarella, fresh cherry tomatoes (since warmer weather means tomatoes that have more flavor than your pillow) and pasta (preferably a curly fun shaped one just because I’m five years old at heart) just screams Spring to me. It also screams “I am yummy; eat me until your feel like you’re going to explode!” but that may be a personal thing.
This is light yet filling. It’s not exactly low calorie but neither is it horrid for you.Â You can cut the fat if you want to by using low fat cheese (or less cheese but I am pretty sure there are laws against that) and not using the small amount of butter used in the garlic tomato mix. This makes eight side dish servings or four entree servings as a vegetarian meal.
- 1 12 oz box pasta (I used the new Smart Taste by Ronzoni because it has added Calcium, Fiber & Vitamin D)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pint cherry (or grape) tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Basil (if you absolutely can’t get fresh, use 1/4 cup from the tubes of basil puree you can find in the produce area. Don’t use dried.)
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese (I used a mix of fresh mozzarella balls and an 8 oz bag shredded)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- Cook your pasta in a large pot with the one teaspoon salt. Drain when done but scoop out one cup of the pasta water first and set aside. Put back into pot or serving bowl and cover to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, saute the garlic over medium heat with the olive oil and butter until it is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add in the cherry tomatoes and cook over low heat until the tomatoes soften; about three to five minutes. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the tomatoes. Don’t turn them into a puree, just flatten them out.
- Add the cup of reserved pasta water to the tomatoes and let simmer for just a couple of minutes. Pour the tomatoes and liquid into the pasta. Add in your mozzarella and Parmesan and give it all a quick stir together. Last, stir in your chopped basil. Salt to taste. Pig out. Enjoy the taste of Spring.
Good stuff, baby 🙂
*goes lookin’ for leftovers….
Looks amazing!! Caprese has always been my favourite go to summer salad. Can you believe I’ve never thought to toss it with pasta?! Definitely on this week’s menu, thanks!! 😀
I hope you enjoy it Natalie! I actually prefer it this way because of the nice gooey cheese 😀
Simple and delicious. You are so right about dried basil it would ruin this.
Thanks Mike. And yep… dried Basil would soooo not be the same. I am pretty sure I would have to hurt someone who used dried basil in this 😛
Caprese-anything always reminds me of summer. Thanks for the reminder about this fantastic dish, I will have to make it soon!
Me too Kaitlin… all the fresh ingredients just scream Summer
I love Pasta Caprese. I have a neat little trick for you. In the pictur you can see the mozzarella melting and creating little clumps of pasta stuck together. Cut your mozzarella and put in the freezer just before starting to cook the pasta. When you drain the pasta put the mozzarella in the bowl and add the pasta then toss it around. The 10 minutes in the freezer makes it just hard enough so it doesn’t melt. Tossing it with hot pasta defrosts it but leaves it a nice little pieces.
I am so an Autumn person too!! But I’d take the heat for a bowl of this.
It helps make me bear the heat a bit better too 😀
I love pasta I don’t care what form it comes in that is because of my NYC Italian nature. Your recipe is an XLNT summer dish hot or cold and easy to make. That Ronzoni pasta is good stuff to! I grew up on Ronzoni it was the most popular brand in Brooklyn!
I tend to love any sort of pasta too (or noodles or spaghetti as we called all of them growing up) but I have a fondness for the fun shapes cause of having six kids I think. And yeah, I love Ronzoni. I used to be a Creamettes girl from way back but I prefer Ronzoni now. Tastes better and better for you.
You and I have a LOT in common. I do not enjoy really hot weather (I get rather grouchy in high humidity I’ve been told), fall is my favourite season (I look forward to ‘sweater weather’ and making stews, chilis etc, I grow my own herbs (and even grow them indoors in our cold Canadian winters) and I love me a great Caprese salad! This salad looks amazing!
I’ve been using up so much of my fresh basil in various pestos (and a really good goat cheese spread that I’m posting tonight) that my poor plant looks like its got mange. 🙁 I plan to buy at least 1-2 more plants to keep up with my fresh herb addiction.
Glad to have found your blog via foodbuzz and can’t wait to check out more of your recipes! Consider this recipe buzzzzed and your blog followed!! 🙂
Hey Laurie! Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you found my blog too 😀
I can’t wait to see the goat cheese basil post! Sounds wonderful.