Monday, July 11

Good Eating Monday: Caprese Pasta Salad

Today's Good Eating recipes is a delightful side-dish for all your summer grilling: Caprese Pasta Salad! (pronounced kuh-prey-zey)
 It's originally from Pinterest and I've found it so tasty, I've made it twice now! I love it!
It's a great recipe to use your abundance of summer garden tomatoes in! And, if like me, you have tons of fresh Basil growing outside, great for that, too! 
I didn't know that I like fresh Mozzarella until I tried this recipe, but now I love it! The soft cheese absorbs the flavor of the pesto!
The recipe comes from a cooking blog called Pip & Ebby

I make my own Basil Pesto by adding to a mini-chopper 1/2 cup Kraft Red Roasted Pepper Italian Dressing (just 30 calories per 2 Tbsp), 3 or 4 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 clove of garlic & a gob of fresh Basil leaves. Pulse this well chopped, then pour over the tomatoes & mozzarella & stir to combine and set aside until pasta is cooked, cooled and ready to add!
Or you can buy Pesto. I'll give you the original recipe and you can decide what to do about the Pesto!

Photo from Pinterest
Caprese Pasta Salad
1 16oz box Rotini pasta, cooked to al dente and drained
1 8oz container grape tomatoes, halved (or use your own chopped fresh garden tomatoes if they're in season!)
1 8oz package of fresh Mozzarella Pearls. (Or balls or sliced--you can cut it to any size you like.)
1/2 cup fresh Basil, minced
1/4 cup Pesto
3 Tablespoons Olive oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar (or wine vinegar, cider vinegar or whatever you have on hand.)

Salt & Pepper to taste

 Suggestion: I find it useful to have a bottle of Italian vinaigrette on hand, ready to add to any pasta salad I make before serving, since, after it's been in the frig chilling, the pasta tends to absorb the liquid and seem "dry." So, just prior to serving, I shake on some dressing, then give it a toss to freshen it!

Directions:
Cook pasta to al dente, then drain and rinse under cool water until cooked off.  In a large serving bowl add pasta, cheese & tomatoes. Combine Pesto, fresh minced Basil leaves, olive oil & vinegar and poor over pasta, then gently toss well to combine. 
Chill in refrigerator 30 minutes to an hour. Yum.
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I like to use colored pasta in all my pasta salads since that looks prettier and because I was using yellow tomatoes, I felt my most recent salad needed a pop of color, so I added chopped up some Roasted Red Pepper from a jar. I also had a baby yellow squash ready in the garden, so I added that, too.
The beauty of pasta salads as you can add what you like!
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Eat up, me hearties, yo-ho!

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