Saturday, May 05, 2012

Recipes From the Porch: Mock Caprese Pasta Salad

This is one of my favorite things to serve for a quiet summertime dinner on the porch. It's especially good with a glass of chilled pinot grigio and a loaf of crusty bread.

Even Hugh, who is not a huge fan of tomatoes, loves this salad. I think the reason for that has to do with the sweetness of the yellow and red grape tomatoes vs. the less sweet taste of a regular beefsteak or Roma tomato. Or, it could just be that he is weird, either way.

I love this salad because it is made from items I stock, normally, and; because there are no measurements. Seriously, no measurements. You simply decide how much salad you want and play with the ingredients from there. I generally make a very large bowl of the stuff because we eat it so quickly. It does tend to taste better when eaten right away, however, so; bear that in mind when playing with the measurements.

Mock Caprese Pasta Salad

Orecchiette Pasta (I've also used farfalle, if you can't find orecchiette (which means "little ear" in Italian (wow! parenthesis inside parenthesis; my fifth-grade English teacher is probably rolling in her grave (sorry, Miss Wood!))))

Where was I? Oh, yeah...

Tomatoes, combination of red grape and yellow cherry. Or, just red. Or, just yellow; your call.
Fresh Mozzarella cheese (I use Bel Gioioso Pearls but you can dice a ball if you can't find them)
Olive oil
Garlic cloves
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper

Slice tomatoes in half, place in a colander and sprinkle with salt, toss gently and allow to "weep" for at least thirty minutes, discard juice.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta cooks and tomatoes weep, cut basil leaves into fine ribbons. Over a large bowl, grate several gloves of garlic. Add basil and olive oil (a few swirls around the bowl) and stir to mix. Allow mixture to sit for a few minutes so that the flavors can blend.

Add tomatoes and mozzarella.

Combine gently, coating tomatoes and cheese with the basil-garlic-oil mixture. Add hot pasta, stir well, sprinkle with pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

With wine.

 And, bread.

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