Cool and refreshing, this Caprese pasta salad takes a classic summer dish and adds a delicious Italian twist. This recipe combines cooked pasta with a blend of basil, tomatoes and bite-sized balls of mozzarella cheese that add a light creaminess to the dish. It takes under 30 minutes to prepare. At that point, you can either serve it immediately or give it a chill in the fridge.
The ingredients might be simple, but don’t be fooled; a little flavor goes a long way. Anyone who enjoys Italian cooking knows that there’s nothing more delicious than a savory pesto or a fresh tomato just picked off the vine.
Here is what you’ll need to make this pasta salad:
- Orecchiette pasta – you can substitute with medium shells
- prepared basil pesto
- Roma tomatoes
- oil-packed, sliced, sun-dried tomatoes
- bocconcini cheese balls
- fresh basil leaves
It’s not a coincidence that this Caprese pasta salad contains all the colors of the Italian flag. This recipe was inspired by the classic Italian Caprese salad, which consists of simply tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. We’ve added some basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes for an extra flavor burst.
Various chefs have offered their own take on this recipe, which is great once in a while, but nothing tops the classic simplicity of the original. This version of Caprese simply combines the salad with fresh pasta noodles.
How to Make it
- Cook the pasta. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.
- Drain. Drain the pasta, rinse with cool water and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add sauce and seasoning. Add the pesto sauce to the pasta. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Combine with other ingredients. Add the chopped tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and bocconcini balls. Mix again.
- Serve. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve. You can also chill it for an hour or two before serving.
This dish makes a great starter salad for a multi-course Italian meal. With sun-dried tomatoes and a flavorful basil pesto, this Caprese pasta salad will put your guests in the mood for the best Italian food they’ve ever had. You can also serve it as a side dish or offer small servings as an appetizer.
Once you’ve mastered this dish, you can try experimenting with other ingredients. Adding a lean meat like shredded chicken makes this dish heartier and more suitable for a main course.
You can also try different cheeses like Parmesan and burrata. Try different types of short-cut pasta to alter the texture. Serve it warm or cold, it’s up to you. Over time, you’ll come up with a personalized dish that your family will immediately recognize and ask for by name.
Store this salad for up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
Did you enjoy this easy, Italian Caprese pasta salad? If so, please comment and share the recipe!
Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe
- 3 cups Orecchiette pasta - or medium shells
- 1/4 cup basil pesto
- salt and pepper - to taste
- 2 cups Roma tomatoes - chopped
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes - drained of the oil and sliced
- 2 cups bocconcini cheese - sliced in half
- fresh basil leaves - to garnish
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.3 cups Orecchiette pasta
- Drain the pasta, rinse with cool water and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the pesto sauce to the pasta. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.1/4 cup basil pesto
- Add the chopped tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and bocconcini balls. Mix again.2 cups Roma tomatoes, 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, 2 cups bocconcini cheese
- Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve. You can also chill it for an hour or two before serving.
- You can serve this salad as a side dish or offer small servings as an appetizer.
- Adding a lean meat like shredded chicken makes this dish heartier and more suitable for a main course.
- Store this salad for up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.
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