Yesterday we got a little heavy, so let’s lighten things up today with a quick and easy Summer-in-a-bowl recipe: this roasted cherry tomato caprese pasta salad.
I started tackling some overdue garden projects over the weekend, the pup by my side, sweeping up pine needles, pulling weeds, and planting pots of cheery petunias and violas. Generally sprucing things up now that all things green are exploding in our backyard with abandon. Basically trying not to be the worst house on our manicured, garden-centric block.
I also planted our first tomatoes – a couple of cherries that I can’t wait to start harvesting in a month or two.
The inspiration for this roasted tomato pasta salad comes from those tomatoes, and of course the classic Italian caprese salad, a layered combination of fresh tomato and buffalo mozzarella slices with basil and a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar. Simple perfection. And the sort of light, flavorful dish I could eat every single day during the Summer months, especially with vine-ripened, peak-season tomatoes…
While I’m waiting on my plant babies to grow, there are always store-bought tomatoes from down south to tide me over, and my go-to method for bringing out tons of flavor: quick roasting.
Roasting the tomatoes brightens and intensifies their flavor, releases sweet tomato juices which help to create a bit of a sauce, and transform the raw tomatoes into something greater than the sum of their parts. I used a half and half combo of cherry and grape tomatoes here, but you can use any kind of tomato you’ve got. The sweeter the better.
I added some cavatappi to the mix, a corkscrew shaped pasta that holds up well to the chunky roasted tomatoes and soft, pillowy mozzarella pearls. The ridges in the twists and spirals of the pasta trap bits of the tomato-balsamic vinaigrette, holding on to more flavor.
File this one away – you can make it in advance, it travels and stores well for cookouts, potlucks and leftovers, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to be eating it all Summer long!