Monday, 7 October 2013

Meatless Monday: Caprese Pasta (Two Ways)

Dinner tonight was inspired by our beautifully laden tomato plant. And of course, our never-ending supply of basil (which I love) played a major role.

(Most of them are ripe now, and the others are going to be soon.)

Insalata Caprese is a simple Italian salad comprising tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and dressed with olive oil (sometimes balsamic vinegar, salt and/or black pepper). While a Caprese salad is brilliant on its own, the combination of flavours are fantastic used in many different ways. Tonight, I combined Caprese with pasta (I love pasta; I've mentioned it before, I'm sure). I decided to prepare it in two ways; similar ingredients but surprisingly unique results.

Caprese Pasta Salad
  • 200g Penne Pasta
  • 1/2 C. Fresh Basil Leaves (chiffonade)
  • 2 Tbsp. Basil Pesto (with olive oil)
  • 2 Tbsp. Tapenade (with olive oil)
  • 1 Tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 C. Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
  • 3 oz. Mozzarella (cubed)
  1. Boil pasta in salted water until al dente.
  2. Toss other ingredients together, then add pasta and coat well.
  3. Can be served warm or cold (or with a light sprinkling of parmesan).

The pasta salad is light and refreshing, and the tapenade gives it a unique flavour. For something more comforting and hearty, here's the pasta bake!

Caprese Pasta Bake
  • 200g Penne Pasta
  • 1/2 C. Fresh Basil Leaves (chiffonade)
  • 1/2 C. Marinara 
  • 3-5oz. Mozzarella (half cubed, half grated for topping)
  • 1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil (for coating dish)
  1. Boil pasta in lightly salted water until al dente.
  2. Grease 8 x 8 baking dish with olive oil.
  3. Toss other ingredients (except grated mozzarella) with pasta and add to dish. Top with the grated mozzarella.
  4. Bake at 375ºF for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the top is nicely browned. 
  5. Serve immediately!

These dishes are as delicious as they are simple. They're great especially if you're pressed for time. Mozzarella, though!

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