Caprese pasta salad
Last summer, I was lucky enough to travel to Italy with my family. It was, and still is, the most incredible trip I've ever been on. The sights were beautiful, the people were fantastic and the food -- oh, the food -- was completely out of this world. As a self-proclaimed foodie, food IS my life. This trip introduced me to some amazing foods that I'd never had and some even more amazing ingredient combinations that I'd never really appreciated -- like Caprese.
Caprese is the new "it" flavor -- everywhere I look, I see it. It's a salad, a skewer, on pizzas and on burgers. I've even seen it in the form of a smoothie. Although I'm partial to just enjoying this dish in its most natural form (eaten with my hands, a fresh baguette and extra-virgin olive oil), I wanted to play around with the flavor and put a unique spin on this favorite of mine.
Meet Caprese and sprouts pasta salad -- a fresh mix of rotini pasta, bite-size pieces of fresh mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil and Brussels sprouts. I added the Brussels sprouts in as a last minute "this might be fun!" experiment, and I'm really pleased with how they complemented the flavor. If you are a part of the 98 percent of people in the world who hate sprouts, don't worry because they aren't necessary. In addition to being an incredibly refreshing pasta salad, this dish is very healthy and uses only 2-1/2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Now all you need to accompany this delicious salad is a bottle of white wine and an Italian villa. I hear they run cheap these days.
CAPRESE PASTA SALAD
Makes six 1 cup servings
- 12 ounces of bow tie pasta
- 1-1/2 cups of mini mozzarella balls (or regular mozzarella, chopped)
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cups of steamed Brussels sprouts, cut in half
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
- Fresh basil, as garnish
- Dashes of salt and pepper
In a medium pot, heat 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add salt and pasta to the water and cook it until the pasta is al dente, about eight minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside to cool.
Once the pasta has cooled, mix it with chopped tomatoes, mozzarella balls and Brussels sprouts. Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss it and garnish with fresh basil!