Caprese Pasta

caprese-pasta-thekrave

 

I recently saw a recipe from Ina Garten for slow roasted tomatoes and I had to try it because, well it’s Ina Garten and if it’s good enough for Ina, it’s good enough for me. I have such a cook’s crush on her. Everything she makes is absolutely delicious yet uncomplicated. Like me, she loves cooking and great food but doesn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove. She’s everything I want to be when I grow up. Amazing career, deliriously in love with her husband of 40+ years, fabulous friends and that house! Ooohhhh how I want that house in the Hamptons. But I digress…back to tomatoes….

Slow-roasting tomatoes is a great way to add flavor to bland, lifeless winter tomatoes so I decided to try it and turn it into a simple sauce for pasta. If you’re using ripe, in-season tomatoes you can skip the slow roasting process and just do a quick sauté with some olive oil, garlic and salt. Once you’ve finished roasting the tomatoes this dish can be thrown together in a just a few minutes. When I’m making a dish this simple, I like to use high-quality ingredients so for this I used buffalo mozzarella, which as the name suggests, is cheese made from the milk of a water buffalo. It has a mild, slightly sour flavor and it gets deliciously creamy when heated so it’s a great addition to a simple pasta like this. If you don’t want to use buffalo mozzarella, regular fresh mozzarella will work just fine. Toasted pine nuts are something I always keep on hand to add to salads and pasta. Keep them in the fridge so they stay fresh longer….they’re not cheap so you definitely don’t want them going to waste! And don’t skip the fresh basil in this recipe….it makes all the difference. I used whole wheat penne pasta but you can use whatever you like. Spaghetti or rigatoni would work great. And add as much or as little red chili flakes as you prefer based on how much heat you can handle. I’m kind of a wimp so 1/4 teaspoon works well for my taste buds.

Caprese Pasta
 
Ingredients
  • 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried whole wheat penne pasta
  • 12 ounces buffalo mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup julienned fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt and pepper over the tomatoes.
  3. Roast for 2 hours or until the tomatoes begin to caramelize.
  4. Allow the tomatoes to rest until they're still warm but cool enough to handle with your hands. Reserve any juices that have accumulated in the pan.
  5. Once cooled, roughly chop the tomatoes and set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  7. In a large serving bowl, combine the cooked pasta, chopped tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, pine nuts and red chili flakes. Top with a sprinkle of kosher salt.
  8. If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved juices from the pan.
  9. Serve immediately.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Jenny

    Yummy! Great picture!! 😉

    Reply
  2. Hallie

    I love me some Ina too and her make ahead approach to cooking. I will become a devout follower of yours as well because it looks like you adhere to the same style of cooking and I’m always in need of new ideas. Thanks!

    Reply

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