From the Kitchen of Engrid Winslow
This Pasta Caprese Salad is a favorite in our family and is always a hit at a potluck dinner. It keeps well if there happen to be any leftovers.
2 lbs cherry tomatoes cut in 1/2
4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
1 garlic clove – minced very fine or put through a garlic press
1 shallot (small to medium), minced fine
1 tsp sugar
12 ozs fresh mozzarella in 1/2: dice or boccatini cut in half
1 lb pasta (penne or fusilli)
1/3 cup basil chopped or Chiffonade
1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
Whisk oil, lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground pepper and sugar in a large bowl. Gently toss in the tomatoes and set aside for up to 45 minutes. While tomatoes are marinating, cook pasta and chop mozzarella. Spread the mozzarella on a plate and freeze for about 10 minutes. (See note) After pasta is well-drained, add it to tomatoes and then add the mozzarella. Add basil and adjust seasonings with additional lemon juice, salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: If you are using store-bought mozzarella that comes in a tub and you don’t briefly freeze the mozzarella, it can turn stringy and rubbery. Avoid this by letting the pasta cool a bit before adding the mozzarella or by using good quality or hand-made mozzarella which will not require freezing.