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. 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.