Caprese Pasta


This marks my first post for a non-dessert type of food. When I first made this blog many moons ago, I was single, living with my brother, and LOVES to bake. I did cook, not intensively, but never thought about making it pretty or put it in a blog.


That changed when I first had a kid and since then, especially now, I cook more than ever, sometimes 3-4 meals in a day, everyday, and I don't see that changing in the near future. I enjoy it the same way I enjoy baking, trying to always perfect it. I have a dream that someday I want to make my own personal cookbook of every single dish and dessert/cake I created for my family and am proud of, that I can pass down to my kids, from American food, Italian, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican, Middle-Estern, you name it. So I thought, why not trying to share them for other people to enjoy too. We can use some meal ideas, especially now that people are cooking more at home. I know I do.

I'll start with a simple dish. This dish doesn't require an introduction. Pasta is a universally-loved dish and I don't know anyone who dislike pasta in any kind. This Caprese Pasta is a regular in my household and I make it frequently especially during warm months.


As with the name "Caprese", it will always have tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella cheese. This is my version, the one my family loves. A very simple dish that's ready in 15 minutes. If you have a vegetable garden, this dish is also perfect to use up the tomatoes and basil from the garden. I buy a couple of basil plant every year for my garden, mostly to make this dish, pizza, and long-simmered marinara sauce.

It's a no-sauce pasta dish and best served immediately. Start sauteeing the garlic and tomatoes when the pasta is boiling so it will be done exactly the same time your veggies are ready.
Our family is partial to angel hair for this pasta, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
My 2-year old calls this dish "cheese" and always gets giddy whenever she saw me making this "yayyy cheese!"

You can easily adapt it to your liking. Use different pasta, use more garlic, use heirloom tomatoes, add pesto, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, add olives, sky is the limit.

Caprese Pasta
Yield: 2 servings

4-oz angel hair pasta (or any pasta you like)
Olive oil (for sauteeing)
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cherry tomatoes, halved (you can use heirloom, grape tomatoes, etc, add more for smaller tomatoes)
Handful of fresh Italian basil, chiffonade
Salt and pepper (to taste)
10-12 Marinated fresh mozzarella balls, halved/whole (use as much as you like) (See note)
1-2 tsp/serving from the cheese marinade (See note)

Optional add on: pesto (See note)

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Put the pasta in and start heating a saute pan for the veggies.
  • Heat olive oil in a medium heat and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant about 1 minute (don't let it burn), then add the tomato halves.
  • Continue sauteeing for a few minutes until it is cooked through. I like to put the tomatoes cut-side down and press it with the wooden spoon/tongs (whatever you use to cook this with. I use tongs) to release the juice. This becomes the "sauce".
  • At this point, the pasta should be ready (4 minutes for my angel hair, adjust accordingly for different shapes), add them directly into the pan. Mix them together.
  • Lower the heat slightly and add salt and pepper.
  • If you use pesto, add it at this step
  • Add the basil chiffonade right before you turn off the heat. The basil should be slightly wilted
  • Divide them between two plates. Arrange fresh mozzarella balls on top.
  • Drizzle each plate with 1-2 tsp of the marinade from the cheese (herbs and all)
Note:
  • If you add pesto, omit the fresh basil leaves
  • You can use regular non-marinated fresh mozzarella balls, but make a drizzling sauce from extra-virgin olive oil, herbs (basil, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, etc). Without this, it can be a little "dry"
  • I don't normally use up the whole juice from the marinade. You can buy a regular non-marinated ones the second time and use the previous marinade, adding more herbs if necessary.



No comments: