When I first became truly interested in cooking and trying out recipes from cookbooks, my favorite thing to make was super easy: a caprese sandwich that was from a Swedish cookbook, weirdly enough. It consisted of a ciabatta bun topped with a thin layer of mayonnaise (I know, not really a traditional caprese flavor), lettuce, basil, sliced tomatoes, and mozzarella- sometimes fresh, sometimes not. I know, it’s a pretty funny thing for a 5th grader to like, but I really did (Celine not so much).
I don’t really love plain old caprese salad because I don’t feel like there’s enough to it, but I love anything involving the traditional caprese ingredients. When I saw this salad a while back, I knew that I had to make it. Finally I did, and it was just as delicious as expected. Come on, it has garlic infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar as its dressing- what’s not to love? Well, I can tell you one thing: out of season tomatoes. These cherry tomatoes were sad excuses for real tomatoes. Next time I make this, I will be sure to use better ones! Other than that, this salad was delicious, summery, and super easy.
Caprese Pasta Salad
Serves about 8-10
Recipe from Annie’s Eats
1 lb. pasta (whatever shape you want- shells, tubes, bow ties)
6 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (quarter larger ones)
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, cubed
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package and drain well. Rinse the pasta with cold water and drain it again.
While your pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a skillet over medium-low heat. Slowly warm the oil so it can soak up the flavors (about 5 or 10 minutes). Set aside to let cool slightly.
Transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Add the olive oil mixture, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Mix until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Note: While we thought this pasta tasted best the day it was made, you could probably make it the day before you needed it. It would make a great lunch!