Fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella pasta salad recipe
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- Dish type
- Vegetable salad
- Tomato salad
A transformation of the classic caprese salad into a refreshing chilled pasta salad, with an added chilli spice kick. Can be made with any type of pasta, pick your favourite shape and go above and beyond caprese!
74 people made this
- 200g orzo pasta
- 170g cubed fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed
MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:25min
- Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to the boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo and return to the boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain well, and let cool.
- Mix the mozzarella cheese cubes, tomatoes, basil, crushed chillies and salt with olive oil in a salad bowl. Gently mix in the orzo pasta, and toss lightly to coat the ingredients with oil.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(83)
Reviews in English (55)
Awesome and so easy! Since other reviewers said this was too bland, I just mixed the orzo, mozzarella, vine ripe tomatoes, and fresh basil with a little Italian dressing. Worked like a charm. Didn't need the red pepper, olive oil, or anything else, but make sure the mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil are fresh!! Otherwise, there isn't any point of making this type of dish. Very good salad!-23 Jun 2010
The simple, beautiful and fresh Caprese salad is perfection on a plate in my view. Vine-ripened tomatoes, just-picked basil, and fresh mozzarella (the colors of the Italian flag) is a flavorful combination. Orzo, which we typically used as soup pasta as I grew up, has gained enormous popularity in delis and homes everywhere as a side dish, be it hot, cold or room temperature. It would seem, then, that pairing the orzo with the Caprese would be a match made in heaven. But while hubs and I did enjoy this, we both felt it fell a little short of perfection, needing something we couldn't quite put our fingers on. Lemon juice maybe? I did leave out the red pepper flakes, and had I included it I think a teaspoon would be WAY overkill. Tip: Basil oxidizes and turns black quickly after cutting. I found that coating it with a little olive oil first helps prevent that! This was definitely a decent pasta salad, but I think maybe I just prefer my Caprese salad straight up!-13 Aug 2009
MMM...this is one of my favorite recipes! We take it to all of our summer events. Yum, yum. Add pine nuts for a little twist.-14 Jun 2009
Fresh Tomato and Basil Pasta
Amount Per Serving Calories 589 Calories from Fat 46 % Daily Value * Total Fat 30g 47 % Saturated Fat 8.9g 45 % Cholesterol 33mg 11 % Sodium 523mg 22 % Total Carbohydrate 63g 21 % Dietary Fiber 3.7g 15 % Protein 19g 38 %
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
You can make this salad up to a few hours ahead and let it sit at room temperature. If you want to make it a day ahead, that’s fine, too, though in a perfect world tomatoes never see the inside of a refrigerator, and you would have to refrigerate this overnight. Make sure to bring to room temperature before serving, and if possible, slice and add the basil at the last minute.
For a pretty perfect simple summer meal, how about this paired up with Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad? I really could think of nothing better on a hot summer afternoon or evening.
Other recipes with cherry or grape tomatoes:
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- 1 pound tomatoes (fresh, supremely ripe)
- Optional: 1 small clove garlic
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 sprigs basil (fresh)
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese (fresh)
- salt to taste
- 1 pound angel hair pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
While the water comes to a boil, prepare the tomatoes: Halve the tomatoes crosswise, squeeze excess juice from the tomatoes into a bowl large enough to hold the pasta once it's cooked, chop the tomatoes, and add the chopped tomatoes to their juices in the bowl.
Peel and mince the garlic if you want to use it, and add it to the tomatoes. Pour in the olive oil to tomatoes and toss to combine.
Remove the leaves from the basil stems, stack them up, and cut them crosswise into ribbons.
Add three-quarters of the basil to the tomatoes set aside the rest to use as a garnish.
Dice the mozzarella. Add half of the mozzarella to the tomatoes (it will melt a bit with the pasta) and reserve the rest to add at the end.
Add enough salt to the boiling water to make it taste as salty as the sea (about 1 tablespoon salt to 2 quarts of water). Seriously, you want the water seasoned enough so that the pasta gets a bit of seasoning as it cooks and brings it to the whole dish.
When the water boils, add the pasta and cook it until it's tender to the bite. Drain and quickly add the pasta to the bowl with the tomato mixture in it. Toss well to combine everything thoroughly—the heat from the pasta will melt the cheese a bit, the pasta will absorb a bit of the tomato juices, and the tossing will help emulsify the tomato juice and olive oil into a real sauce.
Divide the pasta between 4 to 6 servings bowls and top with the remaining mozzarella and garnish with the remaining basil.
Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil and Mozzarella
I love Caprese salads, especially with really good, high-quality, fresh mozzarella. Sometimes for dinner I will slice a nice, juicy ripe tomato, lay some mozzarella pieces on top, sprinkle some fresh (or dried, if I’m in a pinch) basil on top….and then pop it under the broiler for a few minutes. I love the balsamic/olive oil addition on the cold, fresh version of the salad, but sometimes I spice it up a bit and eat it warm without the oil. Melted cheese….it’s a beautiful thing.
But this is a recipe that I stumbled upon one Saturday morning as I was browsing through recipes online. I knew that I had to try it, since it calls for some of my favorite things, of course. Cherry tomatoes are in season right now (my mother’s plant has at least 40 tomatoes on it as I type this…), and I was able to pick some fresh basil from the garden. The salad itself was pretty easy to assemble, and it was delicious! (especially the next day….)
Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil and Mozzarella
2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 medium shallot (or onion), minced (about three tablespoons)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn (don’t chop them-the leaves will oxidize and turn dark icky brown)
8 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped into bite-size pieces
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
1. Toss the tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the sugar in a medium bowl. Set it aside and let stand on its own for 30 minutes.
2. At this point, the recipe recommends transferring the tomatoes to a salad spinner and spinning them for a few seconds to remove the seeds and extra juice. Make sure you conserve the juice.
3. Put the spun tomato juice/seeds through a fine strainer to reserve the juice and discard the seeds.
4. At this point, heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat on the stove.
5. Add 1/2 cup of the tomato liquid, the shallot, and vinegar to a simmer. Let simmer until the mixture is reduced to about 3 tablespoons.
6. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and cool to room temperature.
7. Whisk in the oil and salt and pepper to taste.
8. Add the basil and the mozzarella to the tomatoes. Toss gently to combine.
As a side note, I would like to introduce you to my girl, Scout. Just look at those big brown eyes. She is by my side whenever I am home. She is my photography assistant, but she won’t look directly into the camera ever. I think she’s a little afraid of it. I was taking the pictures of the salad, and she was making sure that I was performing adequately (although she’s not a fan of tomatoes). She’s the best dog in the whole world, and so I thought I would share. Doggie biscuit recipes are on my list of things-to-do Source: Cooks Illustrated.
Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the green beans, and cook until tender, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove with a spider to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain, pat dry, and cut into thirds.
Add the pasta to the same water, and cook until al dente. Drain, rinse, and pat dry. Put in a large bowl, and add the green beans, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella.
For the dressing, in a mini–food processor (or a bowl, if you’re working by hand), combine the basil, parsley, plum tomatoes, almonds, garlic, vinegar, and salt. Process until smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady stream to make a creamy dressing. Pour the dressing over the pasta, and toss well. Season with salt if necessary, and serve.
Slice cheese as thin as possible. Slice tomatoes. On large platter, arrange alternate slices of cheese and tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil. DRESSING: Combine vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil and drizzle over tomatoes and cheese. Let marinate at room temperature for up to 1 hour before serving. Make this only when tomatoes are in season Source: _The Canadian Living cookbook_
Mozzarella Tomato and Basil Salad
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Calories per serving: 329
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- 1 pound dried pasta, sich as fusilli bucati or regular fusilli
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 8 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 pints mixed cherry and/or grape tomatoes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 15-20 basil leaves, torn
- 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (optional)
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until very tender throughout, 2 to 3 minutes longer than al dente stage according to package. Drain in a colander, then chill under cold running water. Let drain well, then drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss to coat. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil with garlic over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle lightly. Increase heat to high and add tomatoes. Cook, tossing frequently, until tomato skins split, burst, and release some juices, about 5 minutes you can gently press on some of the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to help them along, but avoid mashing them. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss pasta with tomatoes, garlic, and their sauce, along with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Once cooled, add mozzarella, if using, and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature, adding additional olive oil as necessary to refresh noodles. Pasta salad can be made up to 1 day in advance without basil and kept refrigerated return to room temperature, toss in basil, and refresh with more olive oil before serving.
Caprese Lasagna Recipe
This Caprese Lasagna reminds me of my favorite summer salad, Insalata Caprese Salad, because of the fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil. This lasagna dish is a definite winner for my family as it is a delicious and light version of regular lasagna. Serve this lasagna with a big salad and some crusty bread for an outstanding meal.
I adapted this delicious Caprese Lasagna by Rachael Ray and her Rachael Ray television show. Photos also from the Rachael Ray show.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- Few grates of fresh nutmeg
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 box of No-Boil lasagna pasta*
- 4 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced**
- 1/2 bunch basil leaves (about 30 leaves), chopped
- 1 cup (4-ounces) fresh Mozzarella Cheese, shredded***
Prepare Sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, approximately 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and garlic and cook, stirring, for an additional 1 minute. Lower the heat to medium-low and whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer. Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper simmer until thickened, approximately 3 to 4 minutes remove from heat.
To assemble the lasagna: Ladle a small amount of the sauce (about 1/4 cup) onto the bottom of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking or lasagna dish. Place three (3) lasagna noodles over the sauce. Top the lasagna noodles with approximately 1/3 of the sliced Roma tomatoes, 1/3 of the basil, 1/4 cup of sauce, and 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat until all ingredients, except basil, are used up, topping the lasagna off with a final layer of sauce and shredded cheese.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.
Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Sprinkle remaining basil leaves over the top before serving.
* No-boil lasagna noodles (also called oven-ready) are so much easier to use as they are much thinner than regular lasagna noodles, and therefore absorb enough liquid from the sauce to "cook" them completely without parboiling.
** Roma tomatoes are used in this recipe because they are not as juicy as regular tomatoes. These tomatoes also have fewer seeds.
*** Mozzarella cheese was originally made from water-buffalo milk in Italy and is called "mozzarella di bufala". Most fresh mozzarella now comes from cow's milk, both in Italy and here in North America. In Italian, fresh mozzarella cheese made from cow's milk is called "Fiore di Latte." If a recipe specifies Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, please only use Fresh Mozzarella Cheese - You will be sorry if you don't. Learn more about fresh Mozzarella Cheese.