Traditionally, the Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad) consists of three ingredients: tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. With that, olive oil and cracked black peppercorn can be used to dress it. Very simple, yet still pleasant and fresh. This recipe here takes that and twists it a little to make a very filling and flavorful baked pasta dish that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. And that’s coming from a tiger that doesn’t usually care for tomatoes!
Creamy Caprese Pasta
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta (I used penne pasta, but it’s up to you)
- 1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce (used a generic tomato sauce)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into ½ in. cubes
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes (I cut some in half and left some whole)
- 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves, about 8 leaves (if you're using dried, use about 1 1/2 tbsp)
- 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil water and cook pasta according to directions.
- While pasta is cooking, heat tomato sauce over low heat in a large saucepan. Once the sauce is warm, stir in the heavy cream and grated parmesan (Don’t let the sauce boil though, we just want it to heat up, not reduce it in volume). Once the pasta is done cooking, strain and dump into the sauce, mixing to coat. Turn off the stove heat.
- Fold in mozzarella cubes and tomatoes, and then add in the basil. Once combined, spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire pasta mixture into the dish. Top with the mozzarella cubes, parmesan, and crumbled goat cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Garnish with additional fresh basil and grated cheese.
Variation tip: You can also add in chicken, steak or seafood for some protein.
This recipe is pretty darn easy to make, and doesn't cost too much for the ingredients either! The entire dish can easily feed 4-6 people depending on portioning.
(This is also the photo that is used for my profile's banner. In case anyone wanted to know :3 )