Thursday, May 31, 2012

Creamy Caprese Pasta

There is something about the sheer mention of anything "caprese" that immediately peaks my interest.  I don't believe a combination of ingredients has captured my attention since macaroni and cheese were combined!  I just love home-grown tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil clipped straight from the garden tossed together.  The flavors compliment each other so well and as I sit, shoveling usually, the salad into my mouth I feel as if I am doing something good for my body, because as we all know, if a vegetable is involved there can be nothing unhealthy about it....right guys?  

I hold firm to that belief even in the face of fried okra!  

I recently came across this recipe on a new blog I found (well not necessarily new, but new to me) called HowSweetEats.com.  My favorite part of this recipe was that I really already had so many of the ingredients so it was perfect for a Wednesday night dinner....oh and it took all of 20 minute to put together...not sure it gets much better than that!

Creamy Caprese Pasta
as adapted from www.howsweeteats.com

1 pound whole wheat pasta (noodles such as penne work best)
1 cup of your favorite pasta/tomato sauce
1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
1 pint of grape tomatoes (I cut some in half and left some whole)
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
 
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 warm, stir in heavy cream and grated parmesan.
  
Once pasta is done cooking, drain and dump into the sauce, mixing to coat and turning off heat. 
 
Fold in mozzarella cubes and tomatoes, then chop 3-4 fresh basil leaves and add them in too. 
 
   
Once combined, spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire pasta mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds. 
 
Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Top with additional fresh basil and grated cheese.


Serve with garlic bread. You can also add in chicken, steak or seafood for some protein.

Bottom line....it was incredible, it was a great twist on my favorite salad and I will be having this often as I will have a plethora of tomatoes and basil coming from the garden!
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