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.
Caprese Pasta Salad
- 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.