Light and fresh, Caprese Pasta Skillet is a delicious, vegetarian dinner recipe to enjoy all year round.
Oh my gosh, I LOVED hearing about your celebrity run-ins! Made me feel better about being such a spaz on Saturday. :) Can I also say how envious I am? I mean, Duchess Kate?! Giada? Bob? Alton?
You know who I want to meet? Paul Rudd. Love that guy.
Ben doesn’t get the whole fascination with famous people AT. ALL. They’re just regular people! he insists. I know, I know, but there’s just something about looking up to someone and thinking your paths will never cross, then when they randomly do – meltdown.
Besides, he’s one to talk. One day a million years ago we were walking up the front steps to my apartment building in Minneapolis when he barges ahead of me to grab the door.
Wow, slightly rude, I guess, but at least he’s being a gentleman! Swoon. I look up and realize he’s not holding the door open for me, rather, he’s gazing adoringly up at a tall albino man coming down the interior steps.
Hey, thanks man. The guy says as he walks through the open door, and down the street.
Oh! Yeah! Sure! No problem! Ben, the most chill guy on the planet, yells (literally yells) after him.
What the hell.
Turns out the guy was Brother Ali – Ben’s favorite hip hop artist in the entire world – who apparently lived in my building at the time. He was in a frenzy for weeks afterwards.
Anyways, I got a really good recipe for you today that’s not only been tested by me, but also by one of my besties – Caprese Pasta Skillet!
My friend Ashley and I were comparing garden stories a few weeks ago (because that’s what good friends do) when we both declared our need for cherry tomato recipes to use up our never-ending, always growing stash. I’m telling you – it’s incredible how many of those little guys those plants can crank out everyday!
Anyways, we swapped recipes we’d made, Barley Corn Salad with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette from me, and Summer Garden Pasta from her, and both agreed a recipe I’d found for a Caprese Pasta Skillet was a must try in the near future.
A few days later, I got a text from Ashley confirming it’s deliciousness, and it wasn’t long after that I tasted the clean, summery flavors of quickly sauteed cherry tomatoes tossed with chewy orecchiette pasta, herby pesto, and smoky mozzarella cheese for myself. You will LOVE this quick and easy, fresh-tasting skillet!
Start by making the basil-packed pesto which will help create a light, fresh-tasting sauce for the dish. Store-bought pesto is totally fine (Trader Joe’s is fantastic) or you can make 1/2 of my homemade pesto recipe with 2 Tablespoons water added in. Your call!
Set the pesto aside and cook 8oz orecchiette pasta in salted boiling water next. Orecchiette’s name comes from its shape and means “small ear”. It’s so cute. Cook the pasta until it’s just under al dente, then drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, slice 2 cups cherry tomatoes in half,
then cube up 1 cup smoked mozzarella.
Normally Caprese dishes are made with tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella, but I had smoked mozzarella in a pasta dish from a restaurant in Napa this weekend, which literally makes me have to gulp back drool whenever I think about it. Sorry. Anyways, I thought it would be a delicious, fun twist in here – and it was!
K. Time to get cookin’! Preheat the broiler to high, then heat 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and saute the cherry tomato halves for 30 seconds – just enough for them to get juicy. Add in the cooked pasta, and pesto, then toss everything to combine.
Sprinkle the smoked mozzarella cheese on top then place the skillet under the broiler until it melts. Be sure to use a pot holder to grab the skillet out of the oven – it’ll be hot!
Top with fresh basil leaves, then scoop and serve.
1 skillet, and SUPER delicious!
Caprese Pasta Skillet
Slightly adapted from Alexandra Cooks
8oz orecchiette pasta
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
salt & pepper
2 Tablespoons pesto (store bought, or 1/2 batch homemade pesto made with an additional 2 Tablespoons water)
1 cup cubed smoked mozzarella cheese (or mini mozzarella balls)
extra basil leaves for garnish
- Prepare pesto, if making, then set aside. Cook pasta in salted, boiling water until just under al dente then drain and set aside. Place an oven rack to the very top, then preheat broiler.
- Heat oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, then toss and cook for 30 seconds. Add cooked pasta and pesto then toss to combine. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top then place skillet under the broiler until cheese melts. Using a pot holder, remove skillet from oven then sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and fresh cracked pepper. Serve immediately.
You will shovel this dish into your face with a fierceness, it is so good! And, I know I sound like a broken record, but each bite was totally fresh and light.
I loved how the pockets in the orecchiette pasta kind of trapped the pesto and smoky, goeey mozzarella cheese, too. Just delicious. Serve this with pesto marinated chicken or shrimp for a protein kick, if ya’ like!
Also be sure to make Caprese Pasta Skillet before it’s too late – I don’t even want to talk about how many trees I’ve seen changing color around the neighborhood. SHHHH!