Caprese Salad Pasta

The summer is one of my favorite times of year because cooking is easy. Take meat, season liberally – throw on grill. Find veggies, whatever’s in the fridge – do the same. Add a slice of bread if there’s no potatoes. (If there were potatoes, you would have also grilled them.) Done.But I have to say, every once and a while I find myself missing carbs – specifically pasta. Because well, I was an Italian mama in another life. Also, I have an addiction. So this recipe takes my love of something completely summer – caprese salad – and marries it with another love – pasta. But, you cook the sauce partially on the grill, so that adds another level of flavor – and summer.I saw someone (and I’ll totally forget who) do this originally, and then I combined about three different recipes and my own creativity for something that was so good, David said “I don’t know WHAT this is, but I LOVE IT!” From his mouth to your face.

You’ll need:

  • 1 pound fresh mozzerella, cubed (Hey, you could use a half a pound if you want – but why? Also, the fresh is key here – the flavor is … mmmm.)
  • 1 pound short-cut pasta, any kind you like
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Fresh basil – um, a bunch
  • Any other Italian seasonings you like
  • Salt and pepper

Get cooking:

  1. First you want to start your grill, then put your pasta water on.
  2. Dice your veggies and cheese.
  3. Once that’s done, grab a piece of foil big enough to fit the tomato, onion and garlic, and coat with cooking spray. (Go bigger than you think here – you’ll thank me later.) Lay the veggies down, toss with Italian seasoning and oil, and cover with another foil sheet. Seal it up and throw on the grill for about 10 minutes.
  4. While that’s cooking, add the butter to the pan and heat over medium high until it starts to brown. Once it’s brown, add in the balsamic vinegar. NOW WARNING: This will splash. And sizzle. And holy moly, will it smell. Your eyes will water. Your smoke alarm will go off. And it. Will. Be. Worth. It. Let the vinegar reduce by about the third, and turn on low.
  5. Add your pasta when the water boils – just cook like normal (whatever your normal is) and drain.
  6. Pull the veggies off the grill and add to the vinegar/butter mix. Now, you have two options here – you can leave this chunky, or you can puree with an immersion blender. Up to you. If you want to leave it chunky, I would suggest dicing the garlic and adding it to the butter in the pan. If you puree, you can keep the garlic smashed, since it’ll just get diced up later anyway.
  7. Add pasta once it’s done, and the cheese and stir together. Let it cook on low 1-2 minutes until the cheese melts and the pasta gets a chance to soak up the sauce flavor.
  8. Garnish with fresh basil.
  9. Eat. Then try to STOP eating.

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