I do love the combination of ingredients that comprise a caprese salad: Basil, mozzarella and tomatoes. This is a great twist on those classic caprese salad components to make a delicious pasta salad.
Here's what you'll need:
2 cups of sliced grape tomatoes
8 oz. of fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 - 16 oz. box of Barilla trumpet pasta cooked according to package directions, rinsed with cool water and drained
One recipe of pesto:
4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, gently washed and dried
pinch of coarse sea salt
3cloves garlic, peeled
3 T. pine nuts, lightly toasted (I toasted an extra tablespoon for garnish)
2 T. freshly and finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 T. freshly and finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 - 4 T. olive oil
Combine the basil, salt and garlic in the food processor. Add 2 T. of the olive oil and blend at low speed. Stop frequently to press the basil down around the blades, until a coarse paste forms.
Toss in the pine nuts and pour in the remaining olive oil. Blend until the pine nuts are finely ground. Stir in the grated cheese to form a creamy paste.
Combine the drained pasta with the pesto and add the tomatoes and mozzarella. Top with a few shakes of red pepper flakes, if desired.