We love everything Caprese. Caprese means “of Capri,” as in Capri, the island in Italy. In its simplest salad form, Caprese consists of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. We love this combination in sandwiches, pasta salads, snack skewers, and even breakfast dishes like scrambles and omelets. These ingredients capture the flavor of summer, and they are a great way to use that bumper crop of tomatoes.
You will need:
2 cups uncooked pasta shapes of your choice (we like tubetti)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 pound fresh mozzarella (we like to use the mini bocconcini balls… kids love these, too)
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a palm full of sea salt (about a heaping tablespoon) to the water, then add the pasta. Teach your kids that pasta water should be salty—like the ocean. They’ll thank you later.
- Follow the package directions, cooking the pasta to al dente and stirring often to avoid sticky pasta clumps. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.
- Mix a quick vinaigrette by whisking the olive oil and balsamic together.
- Combine the cooked pasta, vinaigrette, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a large bowl and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature. Or let chill for a couple hours. Enjoy!
Toss everything together, except for the basil and vinaigrette, and refrigerate. Add the basil, dressing, salt, and pepper before serving.
Skip the balsamic. Instead, in a small skillet over low heat, combine the olive oil with several cloves of minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Allow the oil to infuse with the flavors for about five minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before adding to the cooked pasta.