Monday, August 31, 2009

Pastas Frescas Caprese del Verano - Summer Fresh Pasta Caprese

This dish is full of fresh summer flavors combining ripe heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil plucked from my garden. The dish is not hot when served, but warm. I do not know if they serve something like this in Italy, but it is a refreshing and enjoyable summer pasta dish we enjoy here in California.

Ingredients Needed To Make This Recipe:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound gemelli or any other curly or tubular pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Juice of 1 lemon, if needed
2 teaspoons sugar, if needed

Whisk oil, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper together in bowl. If tomatoes are not ripe add the juice of 1 lemon and 2 teaspoons sugar. Add tomatoes, gently toss and set aside. Do not marinate for for longer than 45 minutes or the tomatoes will turn to mush.

Meanwhile place cubed mozzarella on a plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes or so.

Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in a large pot. Add 1 table spoon kosher salt and pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain well.

Add pasta and mozzarella to tomato mixture and gently toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. stir in basil; adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. This is a pasta dish that is good on a summer evening, a summer luncheon and served cold it makes a delightful pasta salad.

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