Spaghetti alla Caprese

This recipe takes the fabulous flavors of a classic Caprese salad and combines them to create a deliciously simple pasta dish that can be served either as a main course or a delicious side for grilled steak, chicken or fish. The easy-to-make "sauce" consists of uncooked tomatoes, fragrant basil, fresh mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. So simple, yet so delicious.

Spaghetti alla Caprese
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  • Ingredients:
  • 10 ounces thin spaghetti
  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup chiffonade of fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or more to taste)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti.

Place the tomatoes in a mixing bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the mozzarella and basil, toss gently to combine and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stir in the garlic and set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and quickly transfer to a large serving bowl. Immediately add the olive oil-balsamic mixture, toss and season to taste with salt and pepper. Combining these ingredients while the spaghetti is still piping hot partially "cooks" the garlic and mellows its flavor.

Set the spaghetti aside to cool slightly, 5 to 7 minutes, tossing once or twice during this time. Once cooled, add the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and toss to combine. Feel free to add a little more olive oil and balsamic if desired, then taste for seasoning once more before serving.

To serve, plate individual portions and top with a sprig of fresh basil as garnish.

Makes 2 main dish servings / 4 side dish servings

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