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Tonight’s Dinner: Caprese pasta bake recipe

Fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and garden-fresh tomatoes make one of the best sandwiches out there. But it turns out all those ingredients make one of the best veggie pasta dishes out there, too.

I’m a big fan of the Caprese sandwich. I think it’s the fresh buffalo mozzarella that makes it so delectable. Or maybe it’s the fresh tomatoes, especially if heirlooms are in season. Maybe it’s the combination of those ingredients that makes my stomach do flips. Whatever it is, it’s the only veggie sandwich I will go out of my way for. So when I find another recipe that includes those same fresh, delicious ingredients, I go right out, get them and make that recipe. That’s why I made this awesome Caprese bread salad a few weeks ago and why I made this pasta dish from Juanita’s Cocina this weekend. It wasn’t too saucy, the fresh mozzarella made the dish extra creamy and the tomatoes and basil gave the whole casserole a fresh quality that made me feel like I was eating ingredients straight from the vegetable garden.

Caprese pasta

Serves 6


  • 1 pound penne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup pre-made spaghetti sauce
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain, return the pasta to the pot and set aside.
  3. While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onions and garlic and cook until tender, about three minutes.
  4. Heat the tomato sauce in a medium pan over medium heat. When the sauce is warm, stir in the cream, Parmesan cheese, onions and garlic until combined and the cheese is melted. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Once the sauce is hot and creamy, stir it into the cooked pasta. Add the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and stir until well combined.
  6. Transfer the pasta mixture to a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

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Other basil recipes

Apricot basil salad
Shrimp and basil wontons with pineapple salsa
White wine and basil marinated antipasto

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