One of the best, yet easiest combinations of the warm-weathered days is the classic caprese. Nothing but tomato, basil, quality mozzarella, and maybe a splash of balsamic, although even that’s not a mandatory component. Come summertime, and I’m settling down to a tomato sandwich at every lunch hour. It’s the one time of year where I’m satisfied with a dietary routine. Usually my mind’s racing to the next creation I can cook up for dinner and use as the next day’s leftovers. But not during tomato season. Screw leftovers. The heck with innovation. All I want is a tomato sammie. At the dawn of the summer season, you won’t even find mozzarella in the picture. Rather, it’s just me, my vine-ripened heirlooms, a dab of mayo, and a little S & P, sandwiched between two slices of chewy, whole grain bread.
But as the tomato season nears its end, my mind begins to wander yet again. While I’m still enjoying the classic tomato sandwich, I’ve begun to dabble a little in the cheese department, and pretty soon I find myself straying all together away from the two slices of bread that turn my tomato into a sandwich. I have yet to grow tired of my favorite caprese combination, and I’m sure there won’t be enough garden-filled tomato days left for that to happen. But I am ready for a little revamping, which led me to this pasta.
A simple pasta for bread swap, and a whole new caprese creation is born into existence. Not that innovative, but it still satisfies my desire for a bit of a switch up. Really, how could you ever tire of fresh basil and tomatoes?
- -1 lb. whole wheat pasta (preferably a short-cut variety, such as fusilli or ziti)
- -6 cloves garlic, minced
- -4 medium tomatoes, diced
- -8 oz. mozzarella, cubed
- -20 basil leaves, chopped
- -4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- -1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- -Scant tsp. salt
- -1/2 tsp. pepper
- Cook pasta al dente, according to directions.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in large saute pan over medium-high. Saute garlic until soft. Stir in salt, pepper, and tomatoes with their juices, and cook 3-4 minutes, or until half of juice evaporates. Add basil and balsamic vinegar. Saute just until basil begins to wilt. Remove from heat.
- Toss in mozzarella, being careful to warm the mozzarella but not melt it. Serve immediately, with fresh basil on top, if desired.