Saturday, August 16, 2008

Summer Fresh Pasta Caprese

Last night I made something new for us, Pasta Caprese. This dish is full of fresh summer flavors combining ripe heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil plucked from my garden. The dish is not hot when served, but warm. I found that I enjoyed some of the leftovers cold today . It makes a delicious and refreshing summer pasta salad as well.

1/4 cup EVOO
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
12 ounced fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound gemelli or any other curly or tubular pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Juice of 1 lemon, if needed
2 teaspoons sugar, if needed

Whisk oil, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper together in bowl. If tomatoes are not ripe add the juice of 1 lemon and 2 teaspoons sugar. Add tomatoes, gently toss and set aside. Do not maronate for for longer than 45 minutes or the tom,atoes will turn to mush.

Meanwhile place cubed mozzarella on a plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes or so.
Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until al dente. Drain well.

Add pasta and mozzarella to tomato mixture and gently toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. stir in basil; adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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