26 March 2012

Caprese pasta

There are some days when there is just no time to cook. Life gets in the way sometimes, you know? Work, school, extracurricular activities, appointments, chores, 6 car pileups on the highway that take 3 hours to clear ... yeeeeah.

What I really wanted to eat last Friday, when I got home from my first-ever car collision experience, was something deep fried - very deeply fried - which for me usually means fish and chips. But time was not on our side. We had an appointment and couldn't go to a restaurant for dinner, let alone make fish and chips from scratch at home, so instead we had one of our faster-than-takeout meals: caprese pasta. We call it so because it's basically a caprese salad - tomatoes and fresh mozzarella - in pasta form.

caprese pasta 

There really isn't a recipe for this. Just boil lots of water in a pot, salt it generously, throw in a pound of spaghetti, and let it cook. While that's happily bubbling away, dice up lots of tomatoes, dump them in your serving bowl, douse them in your good quality extra virgin olive oil, and season them with a bit of kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and dried oregano. Cube up some fresh mozzarella, set it aside on the chopping board, and wait for the pasta to finish cooking. Drain the pasta, toss it in the serving bowl with the tomatoes, and add the mozzarella right before serving, so that the cheese doesn't melt and get stretchy. Garnish with basil leaves if you have some, but don't sweat it if you don't. 

Et voila, a great meal in the time it takes the pasta to boil. It's not fish and chips, but it's healthier at least, and very satisfying, in a non-greasy sort of way. Sometimes there's no other option but takeout or eat-out, but sometimes it's possible to come up with quick and easy meals like this... I like when that happens. 

I'm still bent on having my post-accident fish and chips, though! 

Caprese Pasta
As mentioned above, I don't really follow a recipe for this dish, but here's roughly how much I use of each ingredient. A word of advice: don't skimp on salting the pasta water. Your pasta will taste very flat if it's not salted enough. Also, you can bust out your good extra virgin olive oil here - it's in really simple dishes like this where your great quality ingredients shine.

If you foresee leftovers, don't add all the mozzarella. This pasta is best as soon as it's made, but it can be reheated. Heating the fresh mozzarella will make it rubbery, but if you store it separately you can heat the pasta and then toss the cheese in at the end.

1 lb pasta, cooked in about 8 quarts water with 2 Tbsp table salt
6-8 Roma tomatoes, diced 
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste 
salt, pepper, and dried oregano to taste 
8 oz fresh mozzarella (bocconcini), cubed 

The juice from the tomatoes and the olive oil form a very loose sauce that tends to settle at the bottom of the bowl, so make sure to toss everything together very well. When serving, you may need to scoop right from the bottom and up to make sure that everyone gets some sauce with their pasta.

Serves 4-6.

1 comments:

  1. You just made your pasta loving friend super hungry! I am going to make this at some point - sounds like it's something that I can't mess up too badly!!! :o)

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