1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
12 ounces uncooked pasta, such as campanelle, penne or fusilli
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes and gently toss. Marinate at room temperature, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Add the pasta and mozzarella to the tomato mixture and toss. Stir in the basil and lemon zest, and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate, tossing occasionally, until serving.
If you love the flavors of caprese salad, you'll love this light, fresh pasta version too. I have tons of basil and tomatoes in my garden right now, and this is one of my favorite ways to use them. This salad makes a wonderful summer meal on it's own, and would be perfect for a neighborhood potluck or picnic. The balsamic vinegar does give the pasta a bit of an unusual brown color, but it just wouldn't be caprese without the balsamic! If I make this ahead of time, I like to add the basil just before serving. It's also a good idea to test the salad and re-season if it's been sitting in the refrigerator for awhile.
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Adapted from Food Network