Caprese Pasta

I love caprese salad. My love for the combination of fresh tomatoes, crisp basil and soft, gooey, fresh mozzarella began on the day I moved to Lexington. Dave accompanied me on the journey to Lexvegas on a Friday night in early August, 2006. We actually brought the U-Haul to The Lexington “Luxury” (ha! right. I’m laughing.) Apartments early on a Saturday morning. After we got some of my stuff unloaded, we decided we needed a break, and I wanted to see part of the city. So, we ventured out to the Lexington Farmer’s Market, where I discovered a very happy thing that took place each Saturday morning in the summer and early fall.

We picked up some fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, and a nice loaf of crusty French bread, took it back to the apartment and made the most delicious sandwiches I think either of us had ever had. I don’t know why they were so good, but they were. Maybe we were just tired, and needed something more refreshing than just leftover pizza. Or maybe it was a warm summer day and we needed cooling off, as these sandwiches are prone to do. Either way, we still talk about the sandwiches we made on that particular day as the epitome of a good tomato, basil & mozzarella sandwich.

A few weeks ago, I started making caprese skewers as appetizers for whenever I had company. They’ve been a huge hit so far, kicked up a notch by the addition of my homemade balsamic vinaigrette: about half and half of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, whisked together with a pinch of brown sugar, salt and pepper. Who doesn’t love a good condiment? It’s my go-to salad dressing.

Yesterday, I had in my fridge some leftover fresh mozzarella, and on my counter some leftover basil and on-the-vine tomatoes, and couldn’t kick the thought of creating a caprese pasta for lunch. So I did. And it was yum-tastic.

Caprese Pasta (for 3 servings… odd, I know, but that’s how it turned out)

3 on-the-vine tomatoes, washed, cored, seeded and diced

couple Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

one big clove of garlic, chopped

salt & pepper

some fresh mozzarella (preferably packed in water – don’t even bother using shredded)

a good handful each of fresh basil & parsley, chopped

3 servings of bowtie, penne, or rotini pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a handful of kosher salt, add pasta, cook until al dente.

In the meantime, heat a skillet over medium-high with some EVOO. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and salt & pepper. Sautee over medium heat until the pasta is ready, stirring regularly.

Drain pasta, add it to the tomatoes in the pan, and stir. Turn off the heat, stir in the mozzarella, herbs, and more salt & pepper to taste. Top with shaved parmesan cheese (not out of a green plastic container – freshly grated is much better).

Hope you enjoy this super easy, fairly healthy, springtime lunch or dinner.

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