It’s the end of summer and I was looking for another way to enjoy one of my most favored salads (be sure to check out my other ways to enjoy a Caprese Salad at the end of this recipe). So, as I always try to do, I wanted this Caprese Pasta Salad to be a little unique. Somewhat out of the ordinary, so to speak. Why use traditional balsamic vinegar when I had this amazing Golden Balsamic Vinegar from Delallo right at my fingertips. Golden balsamic has the same sweetness of traditional balsamic, just with an added crispness. You can order this fabulous vinegar on their 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.
Also, I knew Delallo’s amazing traditional Basil Pesto in combination with the vinegar, would work perfectly. I may also try their Sun-dried Tomato Basil Pesto next time! Feel free to make and use your own homemade pesto!
As for the pasta, I used Shellbows. If you can’t find this exact cut, choose one that can hold the dressing well. Orecchiette and penne rigate are great substitutes.
This Caprese Pasta Salad is super quick, and easy to prepare. It’s best served at room temperature and leftovers can be refrigerated and enjoyed for up to three days. That’s assuming there are any leftovers!
For a step-by-step video on how I made this Caprese Pasta Salad, check out my video on TikTok by clicking here. Be sure to give me a follow and check out a few of my other cooking videos while you are visiting! Thank you!
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 directly the 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 the pasta is cooling.
While the pasta is cooling, prepare the dressing. In a bowl, combine four tablespoons of olive oil with the golden balsamic vinegar (as mentioned above, you can substitute with traditional balsamic), pesto, lemon juice and a touch of kosher salt and black pepper. Whisk to incorporate.
As with a number of my other recipes, this dressing is all about taste. Once everything is whisked together. Give it a taste. If you feel like the dressing needs a bit more of any one of the ingredients, add it!
Place the cooled pasta into a large bowl. Toss with a ladle full of the dressing. Coat. Fold in the diced Roma tomatoes (you can also use halved cherry tomatoes), mozzarella pearls and about half of the chiffonades of basil. Spoon on another ladle full of the dressing and toss to coat. You may, or may not use all of the prepared 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!
TO FINISH AND SERVE THE CAPRESE PASTA SALAD
Taste one last time. Place 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 as a meal, as is, or with your favorite protein. Shrimp or chicken would be great additions. Adding shrimp kind of 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 out these recipes of mine!