Pasta Caprese


The Americas’s Test Kitchen recipe is wonderful. It is perfect for a quick meal on a hot day and it keeps and travels, for box lunches, well. It is good as a cold dinner later in the week, too. Be sure to get the best firm tomatoes, not over ripe. They should give slightly when very gently squeezed. Another thing I learned is to do things in order, no need to sweat it that you haven’t started the water for the pasta while you are busy chopping the tomatoes, the tomatoes can sit for up to 45 minutes.
So here goes:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, seeded cored and chopped
2-4 tsp Lemon Juice ( there are about 2 Tablespoons in a whole lemon, so about half a lemon should do the trick)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or pressed, I pop mine in the microwave for 7 seconds to make them easy to peel
1 small shallot, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
16 oz dried short pasta
14 oz Fresh Mozzarella packed in water (2 7oz tubs)

As I have said before, Julia Child was a huge influence on me when I was learning to cook. Her technique for seeding tomatoes is the one that I use. First, pop off any stem, just give it a yank, it will come off easily, and core the tomatoes using a paring knife to remove the green core around the stem, it usually is about the length of your finger to the first knuckle. Cut the tomato in half, widthwise so that the cored end is on top, over the sink or a waste bowl, put your fingers in the sections with the seeds and squeeze, just so that the seeds come out.

For this recipe, we don’t need the tomatoes peeled, if we did, you would pop the whole, uncored tomatoes into boiling water for about 10 seconds before proceeding.

Whisk together the Olive oil, lemon juice, shallot and garlic in a large bowl.
Fold in the tomatoes.
16 oz dried short pasta
Begin water boiling for pasta.
While pasta is water is coming to a boil, chop mozarella into about 1/2 inch pieces. This is a guide, they just need to be small enough to make a good forkable bite.

Freeze pasta for 10 minutes.
Cook Pasta in boiling salted water with salt, about 1/2 tsp, and oil, about a tablespoon or two, more or less.
While pasta is cooking and mozzarella is freezing, cut basil into strips using a chifonnade technique. Stack washed basil leaves, roll together lengthwise and cut across the width of the rolled leaves.
Drain Pasta and place in bowl with tomato mixture, fold to mix.
Add mozzarella and mix together.
Sprinkle basil on top, mix together and serve.


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