Friday, August 2, 2013

My Ultimate Caprese Pasta

There are several recipes and variety of this dish- it's classic Italian flavors: tomatoes, basil, mozzarella with pasta. However I decided to kinda twist it up to make it my own. 

I made the classic basil pesto with some twists to the ingredients without changing the recipe: 
-about 2 cups of basil
-instead of about 2 cloves of garlic, I used two heads of garlic (it sounds A LOT, doesn't it?) and roasted it in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes in wrapped foil. That helps mellow that sharp bitter (yet yummy- I love garlic but it can be very strong and overpowering). Let cool before handling it for the pesto.
-toasted 1/3 of pine nuts
-salt & pepper
-blend everything well in a blender or Cuisinart while streaming in about 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
-stop blending to add 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese before blending again until mixed in well

As for the tomatoes
-10 (you can do 12) of plum tomatoes, ends cut off, cut in half and seeded and scoop out the pulp. In a bowl, salt and pepper the tomatoes with EVOO and mix around with your hands so coated evenly. Set in a single layer on a baking sheet (lined with aluminium foil) cut side up and roast in the 425 degree oven (after you roast the garlic) for 35 minutes. After out of the oven, cut the tomatoes in quaters before adding to the bowl for the pasta dish
*while the tomatoes are roasting, that's when I make the pesto together

Mini mozzarella balls
option to cut in half. If you can't find mini mozzarella balls, you can buy a ball and cut it to bite size pieces

Penne pasta
reserve about a cup of pasta water to help thin out the basil pesto if necessary if too thick

In a serving bowl, mix together the penne pasta, basil pesto and roasted tomatoes. Add the mini mozzarella to stir it in the last minute before serving

(explanation regarding the below tags of this post- tomato is technically a fruit, which is why fruit is listed instead of being under vegetables)

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