August 29, 2012

Pasta Caprese

This is one of those recipes that is simple, but takes perfect timing. It's easy, but you better read the instructions through a few times! It is also one of those recipes that my brother and sister (Sorry Zack, you're sharing the crown these days!) can eat obscene amounts of. And if you want leftovers, you better either hide them, or wake up at 3 AM and eat them for breakfast. Before they do. Because they will

My Mom concocted this recipe. Kind of. I think, once upon a time, it may have resembled a Cooks Illustrated recipe. Since then, it has existed in a state of uncertainty. To be honest, my Mom still has no idea how she makes it, really. There is a lot of "winging it". And throwing things in blenders. And puzzlement over color changes. I wish you could see the document she sent me with this recipe, it's hilariously confusing. At one point she was telling me to add the lemon juice and sugar during three different steps of the recipe, one of which also involved marinating tomatoes. ?! We are very different cooks. She is a "spur of the moment" cook. The problem is, after that moment is over, she has no earthly idea what she did. Anytime I change something, I write it down. Okay, most of the time. She says she's glad I'm sorting it all out, I just hope she doesn't mind what I come up with!

Pasta Caprese (this recipe will be warm, not hot)
Printable Recipe

loose 6 cups of fresh basil (tight-packed 3 cups)
1 shallot
2-3 garlic cloves
2 tsp sugar
4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt (at least)
1/2 tsp pepper

1 lb rotelle pasta (you can also use penne, or anything similar)
1 can petite diced tomatoes (or 1 cup seeded and diced fresh tomatoes)
1 lb fresh mozzarella, cubed (you can substitute Sorrento mozzarella, it's very good!)

First: Start water (plus 1 tsp salt) heating for pasta. While you are waiting for it to boil, cube the mozzarella and put it in the freezer.
Second: When water boils, add the pasta. While it is cooking, put the basil, shallot, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor.
If your pesto is too thick, add a drizzle of olive oil. Blend till relatively smooth. It should be BRIGHT green!
Third: When pasta is cooked, drain and quickly return to pot off heat. Add pesto and tomatoes, stir to coat.
Add cheese, stir to combine, add salt/pepper if needed, serve IMMEDIATELY!! Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Note: This recipe makes about a cup of pesto. We made a half batch, and it was plenty for the 4 of us for one meal. You can make this in advance and freeze the pesto! So: 3 cups packed basil=1 cup pesto=1 lb pasta. I'm going to freeze it in 1/2 cup quantities. It is yummy for leftovers, but not nearly as pretty! Also, if you are like my hubby, and don't care about the cheese getting all gooey, you can mix it together over heat so it can be served hot instead of warm. Or skip the cheese-freezing step. (Cold cheese cools the pasta)
It's so green!! Not my best pictures, I'll admit; we had a rainstorm, bye-bye natural light. But I LOVE rainstorms, so it was worth it.
I also love this pasta, it's so fresh and summery tasting. The cheese stays in nice little chewy nuggets, the basil is sharp and almost spicy, the tomatoes are juicy... (yes, even canned ones!)
Perfect Bite!!
I highly recommend serving this with bread. Mopping up the oil/basil/vinegar just might be my favorite part!
Watch out, siblings. This one's going to steal that crown someday soon!!

Shared at Marly's This and That for Foodie Friends Friday!


  1. Ooooh, this looks divine!!

    Hey, I nominated you for another award. :)

  2. mozzarella, basil, and pasta...three of my favorite things. This looks absolutely delicious!

  3. I remember when you made this for us, and it became one of my favorite dishes! So glad you posted it so I can recreate it. :)

  4. Thanks for sharing this on Foodie Friends Friday! I will be giving this a try!

  5. Looking wonderfully deliciously fabulous!! I just adore pasta and pesto. My Todd, well he's not so fond of either one. I torture him with it from time to time though and this looks like some very tasty torture material! Thanks! xxoo

  6. Looks so good! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday! Don't forget to come back and VOTE on Sunday!

  7. This recipe sounds wonderful and I will have to give it a try... I was chuckling at your story as I cook like your mother... by the time we are sitting down to eat, I had forgotten what I did with the recipe.. I am very much a spur of the moment cook. My husband will say boy this is good you need to make it like this again...It very seldom turns out the same. I do now make more of attempt to write down what I do with recipes so that I can blog about them... but every once in awhile will forget and have to try and come up with the same recipe the second time. Thanks for sharing this on Foodie Friends Friday and I hope you will join us next week with more wonderful stories and recipes. ~ Marlys


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