Here it is: Your new go-to Green Monday meal!
Attention fellow pasta lovers: this Penne Pasta Caprese recipe is a keeper and perfect for the warm weather! The only ingredient you have to cook on the stove is the water for the penne! The rest is fresh raw ingredients, so this meatless entree is perfect for a hectic Green Monday.
If you are as fortunate as I am to live close to a market that sells fresh, maybe even organic mozzarella and great extra virgin olive oil; this recipe really shines. Start your search by checking Farmer’s Markets, organic grocers and Italian speciality shops. Of course, it’s especially good when tomatoes come into season (late summer), because there is nothing like naturally sun ripened tomatoes!
Penne Pasta Caprese
(Adapted from The Food Network Magazine)
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 4 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
• 2 garlic cloves (completely crushed, through a press if possible)
• 1 small shallot finely minced
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1 pound of penne pasta*
• 10 ripe Roma or Plum tomatoes – diced into ½-inch pieces
• 16 ounces fresh mozzarella – cut into small ½-inch cubes (or look for perlini – small round balls of fresh mozz)
• 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil
• Pecorino Romano cheese (optional)
* Barilla has a “Plus” blend multigrain penne that is actually really good.
1. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper together in large bowl.
2. Add the diced tomatoes and gently toss to combine. Set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of water (with a pinch of salt) to a boil. Add pasta and cook until el dente. Drain pasta well, but do not rinse.
4. Add the pasta and mozzarella to the tomato mixture and gently toss. After a couple of “setting” minutes, I stir in the basil, add a dusting of Pecorino Romano cheese and freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings (meaning it feeds four hungry people!)
While I feel this pasta dish is best served warm, it can also be refrigerated for a few hours and served chilled – or room temperature. Finally, for those looking to keep it healthy or with special diet needs, you can always choose a multi grain or gluten-free pasta.
Overall, this slightly adapted Penne Pasta Caprese is super simple to cook and makes a yummy and satisfying meal (round it out with a green salad and crusty bread) – so file this one away for use all summer long!
Pamela Irene is a we heart this review team member and kitchen guru living with husband David in Orange County, CA. She works in the management office at the ‘happiest place on earth’ – the South Coast Plaza. She can also mix a mean cocktail and is the owner of the largest bath & body collection we’ve ever seen.