Caprese Spaghetti

Sometimes the simplest of dishes are by far the best. This pasta is one of them. Just a few familiar ingredients and you have a delicious dinner. I thought of this recipe as I walked past the beyond fragrant basil plants for sale in the market. Caprese salad is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh basil and summer tomatoes. Mozzarella, tomato, and basil is so classic you can use these flavors in anything. Crostini, salads, sandwiches, pizza, it all works. I also came across fresh pasta, which I never buy and it truly blew my mind. As an avid pasta eater, there is no going back now.

Caprese Spaghetti
Forks & Amusement 2011
serves 4

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like heat)
10 Campari tomatoes or 20 cherry tomatoes or 3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb fresh spaghetti (in refrigerated food aisle, or use dried pasta)
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, small cubes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Place a skillet over medium high heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the garlic and red pepper, cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the tomatoes,wine, salt and pepper, and bring to boil. Turn heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and tomatoes are broken down, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente (not quite cooked all the way through, still has a bite to it). Then add it and 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the skillet. Turn heat up to medium high and combine well until pasta has soaked up the sauce, about 2 minutes.

Turn off heat. Toss in mozzarella and 1/2 the basil and combine well. Transfer to a large serving bowl and sprinkle remaining basil on top.

Serve immediately.


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