Monday, July 29, 2013

Caprese Pasta Salad

Sometimes, simple is better.

Quality ingredients paired with fresh vegetables and herbs can take a plain old box of pasta to a new level. A fresh, summery pasta salad can be born.

This Caprese Pasta Salad with a homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette is sure to please a crowd at your next cookout, barbeque or picnic. Sweet summer tomatoes, soft and delicious mozzarella cheese, and bright fresh basil. What could go wrong?

If you have 20 minutes on hand, you can make this pasta salad in no time! This will serve a crowd as a side dish, and about four as a full meal -- just add some grilled chicken and there you have it! A fresh and tasty dinner bursting with summer flavors.

For the balsamic vinaigrette, take a smashed glove of garlic, dijon mustard, lemon juice, honey, dried basil, balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a dressing shaker or mason jar. Shake vigorously until combined and chill until ready to use.

When you're ready to make the pasta salad, boil up a pound of short-cut pasta until al dente. In the meantime, julienne the fresh basil, slice grape tomatoes in half, and cut up a ball of mozzarella into cubes.

Add everything to a bowl and toss until well combined.

All that's left to do after that is enjoy this salad! I mean seriously guys--you can MAKE THIS and it is DELICIOUS! Let's get to it!
Here's what you need for Caprese Pasta Salad (Print Recipe!)

1 pound short cut pasta--I used rotini
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 8-oz. ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, julienned
1 glove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon dijon mustard--I like Grey Poupon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt then boil the pasta until al dente, about 6 or 7 minutes. Drain and immediately run cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside to finish cooling.

Add the pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil to a large bowl. Toss to combine.

In a dressing shaker or mason jar, combine all remaining ingredients and shake vigorously until well combined. Drizzle half the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Add as much dressing as you like, and reserve the rest to serve on the side.

Store leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days.

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