Enjoy a taste of summer all year long with this quick and easy caprese pasta salad that’s just as good whether it’s served warm or cold.
Two things: 1. I bit into a mealy, juiceless peach the other day, and 2. Pumpkin spice lattes are here. That can only mean that summer is over 🙁 . It doesn’t feel right to see pumpkin recipes all over Pinterest, and Halloween decorations at Target, when Labor Day is hardly over, and it’s still 100 degrees outside.
While I’ve accepted the fact that peaches are past their prime, I’m not quite ready for fall flavors yet, because the tomatoes are also super-ripe, my basil is oh-so-happy, and my pool is still perfectly swimmable. Pumpkin lattes just don’t taste good while you’re on a pool floatie.
This pasta salad, on the other hand, is perfect. It’s fresh and easy summer food, but it also rolls seamlessly into fall – or even winter, because the ingredients are pretty much available year-round. It’s also really quick and easy to whip together for busy weeknights. I love to make it ahead of time, chill it down and eat it cold in the summer, but it’s just as delicious if you serve it warm from the stove.
While you can certainly do this salad with raw cherry or grape tomatoes, roasting them with a bit of garlic and olive oil makes them so sweet – you’ve gotta try it. I also added a bit of grilled corn to the mix, because I strongly believe you have to buy fresh corn for as long as you can. If you make this in the winter, you can skip it. But if it’s summer – definitely splurge on the corn.
This recipe makes enough for about 8 servings, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. Your co-workers will be so jealous as they eat their sad bag lunch.
- 1 pound of whole grain pasta farfalle, or other small shape
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
- 3 large cloves fresh garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 12 pieces of bocconcini small fresh mozzarella, sliced in half
- 1 cup grilled corn from about 2 large ears (optional)
- 1/4 cup prepared pesto
- 4-5 large basil leaves
Cook the pasta in salted water, until it is al dente, according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside in a large mixing bowl to cool.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the tomatoes:
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat, and add the tomatoes and garlic. Sauté the tomatoes until they start to pop and break down.
Reduce the heat to medium, and let the tomatoes roast for about 10 minutes until they start to caramelize and the juices thicken. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.
Add the Parmesan cheese and remove the tomatoes from the heat.
Let the tomatoes cool for about 10 minutes, and then add them to the pasta.
Add the bocconcini, grilled corn, and pesto, and stir everything to combine.
Slice the fresh basil into thin strips, and sprinkle them over the top of the pasta just before serving.
Are you still in summer-mode, or have you already crossed over into fall? Did you have a pumpkin spice latte yet?