Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pasta Caprese

It was one of those weekends when dinner plans were up in the air. Were we going out, or were we staying in? Turns out, we stayed in, but the larder was bare. (That's a lie. It just didn't contain anything we wanted to eat.) We were at Belvedere Market doing a book signing at Greg's Bagels (Yes, we wrote a book! Go buy it!) so we picked up some stuff from Ceriello. A blob of mozzarella, a jar of pesto, and a bag of fresh orecchiette pasta later, we were well on our way to dinner.

I'm trying to eat less meat; Mr Minx doesn't restrict himself that way, so I poached a couple of chicken thighs in chicken stock for him. Then I raided the container garden for fresh basil - because a dish can't have too much basil.

The dish, despite being pasta and cheese, was light and summery, and redolent of my favorite fresh herb. Don't let the dish sit too long before serving, as the hot pasta will melt the cheese too much. Melty blobs are fine, but you don't want the cheese to get stringy.

Quick Pasta Caprese

1 cup diced tomato
drizzle balsamic vinegar
1 lb orecchiette pasta (or pasta shape of your choice)
about 1/2 cup basil pesto
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
diced cooked chicken, optional
1 cup diced mozzarella cheese
fresh basil
chopped pine nuts or walnuts, optional

Drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the diced tomato and set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and leave in the pot. Gently stir in the pesto, adding a bit of olive oil if it seems dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken, if you're using it.

Just before serving, toss in the tomato (and juices) and mozzarella. Garnish with  plenty of fresh basil, either torn into pieces or cut into a chiffonade, and the nuts, if using.

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Posted on Minxeats.com.
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