Sunday, August 25, 2013

Caprese pasta!

Caprese pasta.
Caprese, the classic salad of the island of Capri off the coast of Naples, is a summer standby around here. In its traditional form, it's as simple as placing thick rounds of heirloom beefsteak tomato on a platter rubbed with garlic and smeared with good olive oil and a shot of lemon, then drizzling more oil, salt and pepper on top of the rounds, capping each with a thick round of fresh mozzarella (we love Lotsa Pasta's handmade product) and finishing with a garnish of fresh basil chiffonade (photo below).

Tonight, though, Mary had a brilliant idea ...
Take the premise of salsa cruda - fresh tomatoes and basil chopped and tossed, uncooked ("cruda") with hot spaghetti - and convert it to a Caprese version.  It's still quick and simple: Dice the tomatoes, dice the creamy mozzarella, and tear the basil leaves into fragments.  Mix them quickly with a little olive oil plus salt and pepper, and toss them with hot spaghetti.  Mangia. Definitely mangia. And on a hot summer evening, the luscious tomatoes, aromatic basil and proteins and carbs in the cheese add up to a balanced, if light, meatless dinner (photo above).

Traditional Caprese.