Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pasta Caprese

1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, seeded, coarsely chopped

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1 x 1/2-inch cubes

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons balsamic or red-wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

12 ounces penne pasta

Mix tomatoes, half of mozzarella, oil, vinegar, and garlic in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature. Mix in basil.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Return pasta to pot. Add tomato mixture and toss gently to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Gently fold in remainder of mozzarella just before serving.

Notes: This is a great basic pasta, especially if you have picky eaters! The dish can easily be dressed up with the addition of capers, artichoke hearts, prosciutto and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It also tastes great the next day cold with cubed cooked chicken and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

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