Pasta a la Caprese

You never know, it still might get hot enough this summer that you think twice about turning on the oven to make dinner. It could happen!

Then you will appreciate having this delicious pasta recipe which uses some ripe plum (Roma) tomatoes, red peppers and mozzarella cheese in your brain.

Here’s what to do if summer shows up.

Get the tomatoes, red pepper and garlic. Also, sharpen your knife.

Plum tomatoes, red pepper and garlic.

Chop the tomatoes and get them into a bowl. Use a bowl that’s larger what you need for all the vegetables.

Chopped tomatoes.

Seed and dice the red pepper and add it to the tomatoes.

Add the chopped red pepper.

Mince the garlic and add it too.

Garlic is added too.

No fresh basil, so I used some basil oil and cut back on the oilve oil instead.

Basil oil.

Add salt and pepper, toss and walk away.

Leave this alone for 1.5 hours (more time is fine too).

Two hours later, cook the pasta. I used fusilli.

Fusilli pasta.

While the pasta is boiling, grate the mozzarella.

Grated mozzarella.

Grate the Parmesan too.

Grated Parmesan.

Here’s what the vegetables looked like after 2 hours. Not a lot different than earlier, but looks may be decieving!

After 2 hours.

Drain the al dente pasta.

Drain the pasta.

Get the hot pasta into the bowl with the marinated vegetables. This is the reason for using the larger bowl!

Add the pasta to the bowl with the vegetables (a whatfoodimade action shot™!).

Add the mozzarella to the hot pasta and tomatoes and red pepper and garlic and everything and toss.

Get the mozzarella in there too.

Scoop a portion into a bowl, top with Parmesan and serve.

Pasta a la Caprese.

Pasta a la Caprese.

From Greene on Greens by Bert Greene. This is a fantasic book, full of great recipes for vegetables.

Pasta a la Caprese
(Pasta Shells with Marinated Tomatoes)

If the derivation of the next recipe is vague, forgive it please. I simply cannot remember who pressed the typewritten 3-by-5 card in my hand, containing four words to describe this dish of hot pasta and cold sauce. “It’s Italian. It’s good!” said the donor. Whoever it was, was right!

6 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow or red sweet pepper, seeded, diced
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pasta shell (penne or rigatoni)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, sweet pepper, basil, oil, salt and black pepper in a bowl. Mix well; let stand at room temperature for 1-1/2 hours.

Just before serving, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until just tender, about 3 minutes for fresh, longer for packaged. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Stir in the mozzarella and the marinated vegetables. Toss and serve immediately with Parmesan cheese on the side.

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