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Pasta Caprese – tomatoes, mozzarella and basil pasta

10 June 2018 | Last Updated: 3 July 2019

Pasta Caprese is a tasty summer dinner, ready in 20 minutes. On a hot summer day that‘s all we need. This inspired by famous Caprese Salad pasta has only a few ingredients, but it‘s really packed with flavor. Al dente pasta, ripe and juicy tomatoes, garlicky butter olive oil sauce, creamy mozzarella, and aromatic fresh basil. This pasta is so good, you won’t believe how quickly it comes together!

If you’re looking for other quick weeknight pasta recipes, check out also these:

close up shot on pasta caprese on a pan
pasta caprese in a pan

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST PASTA CAPRESE:

Just use the freshest, good quality ingredients!

– pasta: you don‘t need to use fusilli, but I really like this pasta here. Instead of fusilli, you could use penne. I think fusilli perfectly catches the sauce here. What’s important – the pasta should be perfectly cooked – al dente, it should be soft/cooked but also have a bite to it. Overcooked pasta will ruin the dish. When draining the pasta, don‘t forget to reserve a little pasta cooking water, it thickens the sauce!

– olive oil: it needs to be extra-virgin, the garlic and tomatoes will be only briefly cooked in olive oil so you can use the cold-pressed one, like for a salad. It should taste light, fruity and not bitter. Aside from olive oil, I’m also adding butter, but you can use just olive oil.

– tomatoes: use fresh, summer tomatoes, that are ripe and sweet. Tasteless winter tomatoes will also ruin the dish!

– mozzarella cheese – you can use the regular mozzarella (fresh mozzarella, NOT low-moisture mozzarella), but I recommend the mozzarella di bufala – it‘s very soft and creamy, it literally melts in your mouth!

– basil – fresh and aromatic leaves

– lemon juice and zest – they lighten up the whole dish, add a tangy and citrusy note, don‘t ommit them!

All of that makes a light and packed with flavor summer dinner!

ingredients needed to make pasta caprese tomato mozzarella basil pasta

WHAT ELSE YOU COULD ADD TO PASTA CAPRESE:

  • pan-fried or grilled chicken breast/shrimp
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar
tomato mozzarella basil pasta in a white bowl

TOMATO MOZZARELLA BASIL PASTA – STEP BY STEP:

STEP 1: Cook the pasta al dente. Drain, reserving about half ½ cup of the pasta cooking water (!).

STEP 2 (photo 1): Using a sharp knife, slice a shallow X into the bottom of the tomato. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes, peel them and cut into ½ inch / 1.5 cm cubes. Peel and cut the garlic into thin slices.

STEP 3 (photo 2): Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan, add the garlic, cook over medium heat for about a minute.

STEP 4 (photo 3): Add the tomatoes and lemon zest, cook for a few minutes, the tomatoes should stay mostly chunky but will release their juices a bit and they will, together will the olive oil and butter, form a sauce.

pasta caprese in a pan

STEP 5: Add the lemon juice and a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water, just enough to thin the sauce a bit. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cooked pasta, torn into smaller pieces mozzarella. Toss everything together, season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with basil leaves, transfer to plates, serve warm. Enjoy!

Makaron Caprese czyli z pomidorami, mozarellą i bazylią Pasta Caprese - tomatoes, mozarella and basil pasta
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5 from 1 vote

Pasta Caprese Recipe – tomato mozzarella basil pasta

Light summer dinner, ready in about 20 minutes, it’s all you need on a hot summer day!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 716kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 7 oz fusilli pasta (200g)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter or just olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 medium tomatoes 1 lb/450g
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest preferably from an organic lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or to taste
  • a few tablespoons pasta cooking water
  • 6 oz mozzarella (170g) preferably mozzarella di bufala
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • a handful fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta al dente. Drain, reserving about half ½ cup of the pasta cooking water (!).
  • Using a sharp knife, slice a shallow X into the bottom of the tomato. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes, peel them and cut into ½ inch / 1.5 cm cubes.
  • Peel and cut the garlic into thin slices.
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan, add the garlic, cook over medium heat for about a minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and lemon zest, cook for a few minutes, the tomatoes should stay mostly chunky, but will release their juices a bit and they will, together will the olive oil and butter, form a sauce.
  • Add the lemon juice and a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water, just enough to thin the sauce a bit.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, add the cooked pasta, torn into smaller pieces mozzarella. Toss everything together, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle with basil leaves, transfer to plates, serve warm.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Important tips:
  • pasta should be cooked al dente
  • use fresh, summer and ripe tomatoes
  • use olive oil and butter or just olive oil
  • the best for this dish is mozzarella di bufala, it’s really worth to buy it! do not use low-moisture (yellow) mozzarella
  • don’t omit the lemon zest and juice
What you could add to Pasta Caprese:
  • pan-fried or grilled chicken breast/shrimp
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar

Nutrition

Calories: 716kcal
Course dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword pasta caprese, quick tomato pasta, tomato basil and mozarella pasta

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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