Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pasta Caprese

This is a recipe I got from Cook's Illustrated magazine. I test recipes and shop for ingredients for Cook's Illustrated. Shopping and testing the recipes is always fun because you are usually doing it out of season, about 6 months before the recipe appears in the magazine. For this recipe the tomatoes and the basil would be out of season when you test it. This has become one of my families favorites.

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, minced fine
Table salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 ½ lbs. ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 lb. penne pasta
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon sugar

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 gently toss to combine; set aside. Do not marinate tomatoes for longer than 45 minutes.

2. While tomatoes are marinating, place mozzarella on plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes. (By freezing the mozzarella the hot pasta doesn't cause it to melt into little blobs.) 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.

3. Add pasta and mozzarella to 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.


  1. Hey Greg - Pasta Caprese - I am assuming you add the sugar to the marinade, right? I made the Eggplant Fans, love them1

  2. Pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, and fresh basil. What's not to love! This looks great.

  3. Caseyanne the sugar is to cut the acidity of tomatoes and lemon juice if it is needed. Just mix it with the marinade if it is needed.

  4. My roommate is hyperglycemic, so I try to cook meat in everything I make around the apartment. Do you have a suggestion to incorporate meat? I was thinking chicken or bruschetta. But if I do chicken, how would you suggest marinating it?

  5. oops...pancetta, not bruschetta... ^_^

  6. If I was adding meat I would add chicken I think pancetta might be a little to strong to go with the lighter taste of the pasta. I would marinade it in olive oil and Italian herbs like basil, oregano and marjoram.