Making this Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe takes your taste buds to a whole other country! The perfect combination of pasta, fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, and basil that has been topped with an olive oil dressing will soon become a favorite in your home.
Also included in this post is a Recipe Round Up. I’ve joined a fun group of bloggers to put together a roundup of recipes on the first day of every month. This month we’re sharing Easy Summer Pasta Salad Recipes.
Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe
During my trip to Italy, I fell in love with the simple yet flavorful caprese dishes. The ripe plum tomatoes bring just enough acidity to balance out the rich creamy buffalo mozzarella and bright basil flavor. Some variations, like this caprese salad, have an olive oil and lemon dressing while others feature a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Both are equally delicious and will quickly become favorites in your menu plan.
This recipe was inspired by one I viewed on a cooking show. It looked and sounded so delicious, I knew I would have to recreate it for my family. I wasn’t disappointed, and as quickly as the meal disappeared, I know my family wasn’t either. This is one pasta dish that will be made by me on a regular basis.
How to make the best Pasta Caprese
Fresh and quality ingredients are a must for making this amazing pasta dish. Buying freshly made Buffalo Mozzarella is, of course, the best option. However, any good quality mozzarella will work well in this recipe.
Vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh basil make the flavors pop in this pasta. If you are able to find fresh made pasta, it, of course, would be preferred. Any high-quality penne pasta does work, as long as cooked to a perfect al dente texture.
Note: In the recipe below, you will see that I mention freezing the mozzarella. This is to ensure it doesn’t get too chewy when added to the hot pasta.
How to Serve this Pasta Caprese Salad
This recipe is meant to be served warm. It can easily be made into a complete meal with a larger portion. You could also add in grilled chicken breast, or even grilled shrimp for more protein if preferred.
I find that this is a great option to make at the last minute on a busy weeknight. While the pasta is cooking, I can simply chop the mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil to mix into the pasta right before serving. It truly is a fast and easy meal.
More Caprese Recipes
Ever since I discovered the delicious caprese flavors, I have tried to incorporate them into many other meals. From the Caprese Ravioli to the Chicken Caprese Burger, this is a flavor profile that never disappoints.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (see note above)
- 1 small garlic clove -- minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 small shallot -- minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
- Table salt and ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes -- cored, seeded, and cut into
- 1/2-inch dice
- 12 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese -- cut into 1/2-inch cubes (see note)
- 1 lbs penne pasta or other short tubular or curly pasta such as fusilli or campanelle
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I didn't have fresh and used dried)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (see note)
- Whisk oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt,and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and gentlytoss to combine; set aside. Do not marinate tomatoes for longer than 45 minutes.
- While tomatoes are marinating, place mozzarella on plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes.
- 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 mozzarellato 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.
Note: This dish will be very warm, not hot. The success of this recipe depends on high-quality ingredients, including ripe, in-season tomatoes and a fruity olive oil. Don't skip the step of freezing the mozzarella, as freezing prevents it from turning chewy when it comes in contact with the hot pasta. If handmade buffalo- or cows-milk mozzarella is available (its commonly found in gourmet and cheese shops packed in water), I recommend using it, but skip the step of freezing and add it to the tomatoes while marinating. Additional lemon juice or up to 1 teaspoon sugar can be added at the end to taste, depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 465 Total Fat: 23g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 45mg Sodium: 461mg Carbohydrates: 44g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 6g Protein: 21g
More Easy Summer Salad Recipes You’ll Like:
Greek Feta Chicken Pasta Salad
Chipotle Chicken Pasta Salad
Tuna Pasta Salad
Caprese Pasta Salad
BLT Pasta Salad
Pasta Caprese Salad
Orzo Pasta Salad with Summer Vegetables
Broccoli Pasta Salad
Chicken Taco Pasta Salad