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Author Notes: Inspired by my husband's love of Caprese salad, or anything involving tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. I make this all summer long. Tossing the pasta in the oil with the garlic and red pepper flakes really ups the flavor quotient. Use mixed varieties of grape or cherry tomatoes from the farmers' market. Feel free to alter the quantities to your liking. If you are a garlic lover, add more garlic. If you like your food spicy, add more red pepper flakes. —ekpaster
Serves 4 as a main dish; 6 as a side
- 2 pints mixed cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, preferably ciliegine, halved
- 1 bunch fresh basil, julienned
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2-3 dashes red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesian plus more for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound short pasta, like fusilli
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, mozzarella and basil in a large serving bowl and gently toss.
- Heat olive oil in a deep skillet. Saute garlic and red pepper flakes until garlic just becomes golden. Do not burn garlic!
- Once pasta has cooked, drain it and immediately toss it in the skillet with the garlic and red pepper flakes. Let the pasta absorb the oil.
- Pour pasta and garlic and red pepper flakes into the bowl with the tomato, basil, mozzarella mixture and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with grated parmesian and serve.