Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I had no idea Pasta Caprese could be served hot!

In fact, I really had no idea there was any such caprese dish involving pasta...I had only made caprese salad (which also happens to be a favorite snack of mine). So I was perusing my latest favorite book, The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Pasta , and was thrilled to come across this recipe. It's so easy, and so inexpensive, and is even good eaten in bed after clubbing!

Now, I do have a few notes on this one. I actually used 4 cloves of garlic, as I can never get enough garlic, and 2 just didn't seem like enough. Also...the garlic is really not cooked in this, so if you dislike raw garlic...keep that in mind; you might want to reduce the amount of the garlic. While the hot pasta is supposed to heat up the mozzarella and tomatoes, I found that it didn't heat them up enough, so I ended up nuking the meal right before serving. Those caveats aside...this will be worked in to my repertoire of favorites, for sure! Delicious, and clean!

pasta caprese

5 large tomatoes
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1 t balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
pinch of cayenne (I used a splash of tabasco)
1 lb of penne or ziti
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
about 15 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded

Peel and seed the tomatoes (this is not difficult if you blanch the tomatoes first), then cut them into small dice. Drain in colander for about 15 minutes to remove excess liquid.

In a bowl, combine the drained tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cayenne. Set aside at room temp for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta, and cook until al dente, 10-12 minutes.

Drain the pasta and put in a warmed bowl. Add the tomato mixture and toss. Add the cheese and basil and toss again. As the heat from the pasta melts the cheese, taste and adjust seasoning Serve right away.

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