Penne with Tomato Basil and Mozzarella (Pasta Caprese)
This is a perfect summer pasta dish, based on the Italian classic Insalata Caprese. The success of this recipe depends on a few high-quality ingredients, including ripe, in-season tomatoes, fresh basil, and the best olive oil.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 small shallot, minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (or cherry tomatoes cut in half)
12 ounces fresh handmade buffalo- or cow’s-milk mozzarella
1 pound penne pasta
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon sugar (optional, depending on the taste and ripeness of the tomatoes)
½ cup freshly grated
1. Whisk oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and diced mozzarella and gently toss to combine; set aside. Do not marinate for longer than 45 minutes.
2. While tomatoes and cheese are marinating, bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain well.
Add pasta and mozzarella/tomato mixture and gently toss to combine. Let stand 5
minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and additional
lemon juice or sugar, if desired, and serve immediately.