I eat Caprese salads pretty regularly in the summer – probably about once per week, especially when we are getting tons of tomatoes from our garden. We had all the fixings for it the other day, but I was craving pasta (I seriously think I may have a pasta addiction), so I decided to combine the two, and it it worked out great!
Caprese salad plus pasta? Genius!
- 1 pound pasta (I used orecchiette)
- about 3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a mix of different types and sizes – big tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, whatever we had)
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
- several splashes balsamic vinegar
- several big pinches salt and freshly cracked pepper
Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. In meantime, combine tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, and some of the salt and pepper. Once pasta is cooked, drain and let sit for just a few minutes so not quite so hot. After its cooled just a bit, add pasta to bowl with tomatoes. Add in the balsamic vinegar, basil, and any more salt or pepper needed for seasoning. Give it all a big stir and serve.
Wow, Tuna Pesto Pasta Salad is a total tongue twister…but that really has no relevance to anything else, just thought I’d point that out. Anywho, as I’ve stated, I’ve had a lot of pesto on hand, and I am using it on everything. Here, I mix tuna, pesto, whole wheat pasta, and just a big assorted mix of random things from my fridge to make a really tasty salad. If you don’t have all the below ingredients, no worries. Like I alluded to, this is kind of “kitchen sink” salad, so just work with what you have. We usually keep quite a few “Mediterranean-ish” staples on hand, so that is what we went with, plus I had a green pepper from my garden to add!
I added some of my fancy basil oil to it.
Tuna Pesto Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces whole wheat pasta (we used penne)
- Couple handfuls of mixed greens
- 2 red spring onions, sliced thin on a mandoline
- 1/2 cup fresh peas, blanched (use frozen peas, not blanched, if no fresh)
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced
- 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half
- 1 medium sized green pepper, diced
- 1 can tuna, drained
- 1/4 cup pesto
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water. Drain and drizzle with just a tad (maybe 1 tablespoon) olive oil.
In meantime, mix onions, peas, red peppers, olives, green pepper, and tuna together. Mix with a third of the pesto.
Once pasta has cooled, add pasta to tuna-veggie mixture and combine. Add remaining pesto and a tablespoon of olive oil.
To serve, mix greens with a tablespoon of olive oil and put on plate. Put couple of scoops tuna pasta mixture on lettuce and top with some shaved Parmesan.
Wish I would of had radishes from my garden to toss in.
Ok, so I cheated on part of this dish. I used store-bought frozen raviolis. We have a nice Italian store, and they have lots of varieties of raviolis, tortellinis, etc, and we usually have few stored in our freezer. However, the thing I do want to highlight here is the pesto. Our basil did awesome at the beginning of this summer (though it has now turned to total shit after this 100 degree plus heat wave), and I was able to make several batches of pesto. The good news is, it turned out fabulous and I used it in several things – sauces, salads, dips. The bad news is, I did not take a pic of just the pesto – just pics of final dishes. I think we will all live, though. Should you find yourself with an abundance of pesto, also remember you can freeze it, whether it be in small plastic containers, flat in freezer bags with all the extra air squeezed out, or individual squares in ice cube trays (just pop them into a plastic bag or container after they are froze. Take them out as you need.
Portabello Mushroom Raviolis with Pesto, Oyster Mushrooms, and Peas
- 1 package frozen raviolis of your choice (you don’t have to use mushroom), usually about 12 ounces or so
- 1/2 pound oyster mushrooms (or some sort of mushroom, use something else is you can’t find oyster), roughly torn up
- 1/3 cup (ideally) fresh peas, blanched (if using frozen peas, don’t blanch, just let them thaw out)
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup pesto (recipe below)
- about 3 tablespoons of shaved Parmesan, to pass when serving
Cook raviolis in boiling water according to package directions (usually a good rule of thumb is once all of the raviolis are floating at the top they are pretty close to being done). Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water.
In the meantime, heat some olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper and let cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add peas and cook for about one minute. Turn heat down to medium to medium low and add butter and toss to coat, cooking for another minute. Taste to see if needs any more salt and pepper.
In a big serving bowl, gently toss the drained raviolis with pesto, and just a dab of the reserved cooking water, maybe a few tablespoons. Add mushrooms and peas and gently toss until all comes together. If looks really dry for some reason, add another tablespoon or two of cooking water. Plate and serve with grated cheese.
- 2 cups basil leaves, packed
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
In a food processor, process the basil and garlic together. Add pine nuts and process until everything is kinda smooth. Scrape down sides of food processor bowl. Add lid back to processor and slowly add oil. Once oil is mixed in, add in cheese and process until just combined. Add a healthy pinch of salt and pepper and process until just mixed together. Taste. Does it seem balanced with salt, oil, and Parmesan? If it seems it needs a little more of something, add it, but don’t go crazy as you don’t want to overwhelm the delicate flavor of the pesto with just one ingredient. If you are choosing to freeze your pesto, don’t add the cheese. Wait until you have pulled it from the freezer and de-frosted it and then add it because cheese does not freeze too well in recipes.