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CAPRESE PASTA SALAD

Ingredients

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Recently, I have been looking for alternative ways to enjoy one of my most favored salads. So, why not a Caprese Pasta Salad? Fabulous tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and chiffonades of basil paired with pasta. What’s not to love? Oh, and the dressing. A unique twist on the traditional balsamic vinegar and oil. Wait for it…

This Caprese Pasta Salad is super quick, and easy to prepare. It’s best served at room temperature. Leftovers can be refrigerated and enjoyed for up to three days. That’s assuming there are any leftovers! Also, it’s a great party salad.

a blue and white bowl filled with caprese pasta salad

Not only did I create one short TikTok video making this fabulous Pasta Salad, I created two. I am super excited to say that both went VIRAL. See recipe below to view my latest. It now has over 430k views! If you have not yet signed up for this social media platform, use my code 5SSIS800K0H06 to create an account.

HOWTO MAKE THE PERFECT CAPRESE PASTA SALAD

Fresh ingredients, along with a high-quality olive oil and pesto will make all the difference in the world. Get out and support your local farmer’s market. Grab the tomatoes and fresh basil. Additionally, if you are felling it, pick up all the ingredients to make your own pesto.

Galbani fresh mozzarella cheese is always my go-to. Their mozzarella pearls work fabulous in this dish.

PASTA

As for the pasta, I used Shellbows from Delallo. Funny, so many people who have seen my video, are so interested in this pasta shape. If you can’t find this exact cut, choose one that can hold the dressing well. Orecchiette and penne rigate are great substitutes.

Prepare the pasta to al dente. Two things to always keep in mind when cooking pasta:

  • One, be sure to always salt the water just before you place your pasta in the boiling water.
  • Secondly, do not rinse the pasta after it is drained. You need the added starch to hold the dressing.

Honestly, I never rinse my pasta. Most often, I transfer the cooked pasta from the water to whatever sauce I am creating. For this recipe, drain then drizzle on a touch of olive oil (toss to coat), while the pasta is in the colander. This just ensures that the pasta will not stick together as it is cooling.

BASIL PESTO VINAIGRETTE

You all know I like to add unique twists to my recipes. So, I thought, why use traditional balsamic vinegar in this Caprese Pasta Salad, when I have this amazing Golden Balsamic Vinegar.

Golden balsamic has the same sweetness of traditional balsamic, just with an added crispness. You can order this fabulous vinegar on the Delallo website, or use traditional if that is all you have available. If using traditional balsamic, I would suggest using just a bit less than two tablespoons.

Since I decided not to make my own basil pesto, Delallo’s traditional Basil Pesto worked beautifully!

As with a number of my recipes, this vinaigrette is all about taste. Once everything is whisked together. Give it a taste. If you feel like the basil pesto dressing needs a bit more of any one of the ingredients, add it!

You may, or may not use all of the basil pesto dressing. Add in small increments, as needed. Always keep in mind, you can add more dressing, but never take away if you use too much!

As an added touch, I threw in a few crushed red pepper flakes. Totally optional!

TO FINISH AND SERVE THE CAPRESE PASTA SALAD

Taste, one last time. Place the Caprese Pasta Salad in a large serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining fresh basil. Serve at room temperature as a wonderful side dish.

You can also serve this Pasta Salad as a meal. As is, or with your favorite protein. Shrimp, or chicken would be great additions. Adding shrimp reminds me of my recipe for Orzo with Pesto Grilled Shrimp. If you have not tried this recipe yet, you need to! It’s a great way to enjoy the final days of the bounties from your local farmer’s market!

If you love Caprese Salads as much as I do, check these out!

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a blue and white bowl filled with caprese pasta salad

CAPRESE PASTA SALAD


  • Author:Charlotte Fashion Plate
  • Prep Time:15 minutes
  • Cook Time:10 minutes
  • Total Time:25 minutes
  • Yield:10 servings 1x

Description

Transform a traditional Caprese Salad into one amazing dish, just by adding pasta and the most perfect basil pesto dressing. It’s super simple to prepare, and all of your guests will enjoy every single bite.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 lb. shellbows (see substitutions in post)
  • kosher salt for pasta water
  • 3 diced roma tomatoes, or 3/4 C halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella pearls, rinsed
  • 1 -2 TBLS olive oil
  • 2 TBLS fresh chiffonades of basil, plus more for garnish

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 3 TBLS olive oil
  • 2 TBLS basil pesto
  • 2 TBLS golden balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain. Do NOT rinse.
  2. Mix the pasta with a tablespoon, or two of olive oil as it is cooling.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing. Taste. Season appropriately, if needed.
  4. Place the pasta in a large bowl.
  5. Mix the pasta with a few tablespoons of the dressing.
  6. Add in the tomatoes, mozzarella pearls and basil.
  7. Toss with more dressing, a little bit at a time. Taste.
  8. You may not use all of the dressing.
  9. Garnish with more fresh basil.
  10. Serve at room temperature.
  11. ENJOY!

Notes

SEE POST!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:2/3 Cup

Keywords: how to make pasta salad, how to make caprese salad, how to make caprese pasta salad, what kind of dressing to make for pasta salad, what is golden balsamic vinegar, what kind of pasta to use in pasta salad,

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