Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pasta Caprese

Because it’s still summer…

Because tomatoes and basil can be found in abundance at the farmers’ market…

Because the temperatures this week are flirting with the 100 degree mark…

Just because…

I present my favorite summer supper—Pasta Caprese.

This dish is both easy to make and delicious to eat on a hot summer evening.

Pasta Caprese
Adapted from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2014.

The key to this recipe is using the freshest ingredients available—good extra-virgin olive oil and tomatoes
ripe from the vine (or farmers’ market.) I use fresh mozzarella (the kind packed in water) but the regular supermarket kind also works. Just freeze the cubes for 10 minutes before you add it to the hot pasta to keep the cheese from becoming a rubbery mess. This dish is served warm or at room temperature, not hot—perfect for summer.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 small shallot, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ripe cherry tomatoes or large tomatoes cut into 1/2 inch dice
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon sugar, to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper. Gently fold in the tomatoes and mozzarella cubes. Set aside for no longer than 45 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt to make the water taste like the ocean (a bit salty), and then add the pasta. Cook to al dente and drain.

Gently toss the warm pasta with the tomato mixture and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the basil and any additional salt, pepper, lemon juice and sugar, to taste. Serve.

1 comment:

  1. Thank heaven for Trader Joes, because I can basically make this all year round...but it never ever tastes as good as it does right now!