If you are living in the US, you are most likely getting ready for the long Memorial Day weekend: The official beginning of the warmer summer days, cookouts, picnics, and time spent outdoors after a long winter.
I, on the other hand, am about to hop on a train to New York City to pick up my friend Bea, who is traveling from England to join me teach our very first Food Photography and Styling workshop here in Vermont. The next few weeks is going to be about sharing our knowledge, meeting our attendees, and having a good time. Needless to say, it is all so exciting.
Today’s recipe, Caprese Pasta Salad, is one that I published a few years ago. It needed a little bit of TLC so here I am republishing it with some new information and photos.
I love this salad as it is easy to make, transport, and share. It comes together in 30 minutes and is a crowd pleaser making it perfect for all your outdoor summer entertaining needs.
What is Caprese
If you are into Italian food/cuisine, you are probably aware of their famous Caprese Salad. Essentially, it is made with layering fresh sliced tomatoes with mozzarella cheese and basil and then drizzling it with olive oil.
My version here is similar to the classic recipe, but made with a few technical changes.
How To Make Caprese Pasta Salad
The recipe has 3 folds. First, you roast the tomatoes. While they are roasting you cook the pasta. Once those two are ready, all you have left to do is the assembling of the dish.
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes for The Best Pasta Caprese
I have to admit, the idea of roasting perfectly juicy and delicious cherry tomatoes was not something I used to do. It just didn’t make sense, but seeing it in big magazines like Bon Appetit and Saveur made me want to give it a try.
I am glad I did, because the taste of summer’s sweet tomatoes roasted in a high temperature oven (in this case 400 F Degrees) for 15 minutes is just as good as the fresh tomatoes. Because the roasting process caramelizes the tomatoes and makes them softer, sweeter and more juicier. I also added a few cloves of garlic as I love the addition of roasted garlic. Still, it is totally optional.
The Type of Pasta To Use for Caprese Pasta Salad
In my version here, I used brown rice spaghetti as I love that it is easy to digest and gluten-free. However, any pasta would do the work. If you can get your hands on fresh pasta with fun shapes, I think it would be fun to give it a try, especially if you are serving this to kids.
In term of doneness, feel free to cook it into your liking. I like my pasta al-dente, but it is totally up to you.
How To Assemble this Tomato Mozzarella Basil Pasta Salad
Before I talk about how to put it all together, I want to talk about the amount of ingredients used in the recipe below. Admittedly, I was quite generous with the amounts
I used. But for all good reason, I promise.
Yes, a whopping 2 ½ pounds of cherry tomatoes might be a lot, but if you think about the fact that they will shrink during the roasting process and that we are using 16 ounces of pasta, I think you would understand why.
With the goal of having a tomato-basil-mozzarella combo with every bite, I was also generous with amount of fresh basil and fresh mozzarella balls I used. Because let’s face it, there is nothing more boring than a bite of pasta without the toppings.
The assembly is pretty easy. Drain the pasta, place it in a large bowl, add in the roasted tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella and give it a gentle mix. As in all pasta dishes, it might be a good idea to save some of the pasta liquid to use in case your pasta dries out, especially if you prefer using that instead of olive oil.
However, keep in mind that since pasta is warm, mozzarella will melt a little and add some moisture to the noodles so you might not need the liquid at all.
The last killing touch (in my humble opinion) is the part where you sprinkle it with some fresh parmesan on top. It is totally optional, but I think so worth it. After all, nothing makes a Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Salad better than more cheese sprinkled on top.
How To Serve Caprese Pasta Salad
You can serve this dish warm or cold. If you are serving as the main dish, I would try to serve it warm, but if you are taking it to a potluck, picnic or a cookout party serving it cold would still work.
Though I doubt that you will have leftovers, you can place them in an airtight container and keep in the fridge up to two days. When ready to eat, you can enjoy your pasta dish warm or cold. It is totally up to you.
If You Liked This Pasta Caprese, You Might Also Like:
- Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta
- Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Eggplant Pasta Bake
- Bechamel Sauce Pasta
- Pasta Creme Fraiche
- Pizza Caprese
- Tomato Mozzarella Salad
- Baked Ziti with Meat
- Shrimp Scampi
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Need more inspiration? Check out all our pasta recipes
- Blueberry Broccoli Pasta Salad – The View From Great Island
Brown Rice Caprese Spaghetti
- 2 ½ pounds of cherry or small vine tomatoes rinsed and pat-dried
- 4 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus more for drizzling at the end
- salt and black pepper
- 1 package of 16-ounce brown rice spaghetti (or any other pasta you like)
- ¾ cup of fresh basil chopped
- 10- ounces of small fresh mozzarella balls drained
- ½ cup of Parmesan cheese freshly shredded
- Heat the oven to 400 F degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Spread the tomatoes and garlic into the sheet pan. Drizzle them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Roast them in the oven for 13-15 minutes*.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Reserve a cup of its liquid and drain the rest.
- To assemble: Place the cooked warm pasta, roasted tomatoes, chopped basil, and mozzarella balls into a large bowl. If for some reason the pasta dries, use a little bit of the reserved liquid.
- Give it a gentle toss making sure all the ingredients are equally distributed within the bowl. Taste for seasoning and add more if necessary.
- When ready to serve, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
- If you are using tomatoes when they are not in season, I would recommend extending the roasting time to 25-30 minutes.
- You can serve this dish warm or cold. If you are serving as the main dish, I would try to serve it warm, but if you are taking it to a potluck, picnic or a cookout party serving it cold would still work.
- Though I doubt that you will have leftovers, you can place them in an airtight container and keep in the fridge up to two days. When ready to eat, you can enjoy your pasta dish warm or cold. It is totally up to you.