Raise your hand if you love basil.
You better believe my hand is up high in the air. Fresh basil is one of my very favorite things. The smell, the taste, I love it all. And when summer starts rolling in and the basil is super fresh? Mmmmm.
I saw this recipe on How Sweet It Is on Monday & put the ingredients on my shopping list right that very second. When a restaurant has a Caprese sandwich or salad, I almost always order it. Juicy ripe tomatoes? Yes, please. Basil? Obviously. Fresh mozzarella? Heck yes. Perfection! (And it doesn't hurt that a favorite sandwich at a local restaurant adds proscuitto, too!)
This pasta is all of that Caprese yumminess in a baked pasta. It's good. Really good.
Creamy Caprese Pasta
Slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is
1 lb pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
1 1/2 C pasta/tomato sauce
1/3 C heavy cream
1/3 C freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
8 oz fresh mozzarella - 4 oz cut into cubes, 4 oz cut into thin rounds
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
5 - 7 (depending on size) basil leaves, plus more for ganish
Preheat oven to 350°.
Boil water and cook pasta according to directions.
While pasta is cooking, heat tomato sauce over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream and grated parmesan.
Once pasta is done cooking, drain and return to the large pot, off heat. Pour warmed tomato sauce + cream onto pasta, mixing to coat. Fold in mozzarella cubes and tomatoes, and chopped basil leaves.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire pasta mixture into the dish.
Top with fresh mozzarella rounds. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Top with additional fresh basil and grated cheese.