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This flavorful Caprese Pasta recipe, with fresh basil, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, is so delicious and easy to make in less than 30 minutes! It’s guaranteed to become a new weeknight family favorite!
Thank you to my friends at North Shore Living for sponsoring today’s post!
Light, fresh and flavorful, the three perfect words to describe this easy caprese pasta recipe! This is one of those dishes that you can eat over and over again. I promise, I would know, because I have!
In this recipe, the classic caprese salad, which combines mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and fresh basil, is transformed into your new favorite pasta dish. It’s easy to make in just 20 minutes, perfect for weeknight meals.
Since the stars of the show in this recipe are the fresh basil, tomatoes and mozzarella, you want to use the best, freshest ingredients possible!
In this recipe, I use North Shore Living basil. I love North Shore Living herbs because they come with the roots attached, so you’re getting the freshest herbs available. Not only do they last longer than traditional fresh cut herbs but they taste and smell better!
North Shore Living Herbs are planted from seed, grown in their greenhouses for a handful of weeks, then packed and headed straight for your kitchen. This means you’re getting a very young, tender plant. This results in basil leaves so soft, they’ll melt in your mouth!
In this recipe, you’ll see that I don’t add the basil until the very end. This is because prolonged heat will cause the basil oils to dissipate, which reduces the distinct flavor. And in this recipe, we’re going for maximum fresh flavor!
Table of contents
Ingredients you’ll need
- Angel hair pasta – while other varieties of pasta can be used, I highly recommend trying it first with the angel hair pasta. This thin, delicate pasta pairs perfectly with the light, fresh flavors of this dish.
- Olive oil
- Red onion
- Red bell pepper – green, orange or yellow bell pepper can also be used, it’s really up to your preference!
- Grape tomatoes – cherry tomatoes can be swapped in if you’d like.
- Lemon juice – I always recommend fresh-squeezed for the best flavor!
- Italian seasoning – you can purchase a pre-made seasoning mix at the grocery store, or use the link to the left to make my easy homemade seasoning in less than 5 minutes!
- Black pepper
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- North Shore Living basil – simply snip the basil right from the root, rinse it, pat it dry, then roughly chop it. For this recipe, I used all of the basil from the package you see pictured above.
- Mozzarella cheese – I recommend a whole milk, low moisture fresh mozzarella cheese if possible. This will lightly melt into the pasta and add a nice creamy, texture to the dish.
Step by step instructions
It’s so easy to make this caprese pasta recipe. Simply boil the angel hair pasta according to the package directions, then drain and set aside. Next, follow these 6 simple steps to toss the pasta together in no time!
- Heat a large skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and onion, saute 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for an additional minute.
- Add the tomatoes to the skillet with Italian seasoning, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to burst, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the tomatoes.
- Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss everything together.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add the mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.
Easy as that, the dish is ready to serve immediately for a delicious Italian meal!
Frequently asked questions
- Can you add chicken to the caprese pasta? Absolutely! Check out this marinated and grilled Italian chicken recipe. It would pair wonderfully with this pasta dish!
- Can you make this recipe ahead of time? I do not recommend making this recipe ahead of time. The warm, bursting cherry tomatoes, paired with the slightly melted creamy mozzarella cheese and the fresh chopped basil really is best when served immediately after you make it.
- Should this dish be served hot or cold? This dish is meant to be served hot. If you’re looking for a cold caprese pasta salad, I recommend checking out this Quinoa Caprese Salad.
- Can you make this pasta recipe gluten free? Yes, simply substitute the angel hair pasta for gluten free pasta. If you can’t find gluten-free angel hair, you can use gluten-free spaghetti or penne pasta instead.
- When should I use fresh herbs vs. dried herbs? Always use fresh herbs in a raw salad, sauce or salad dressing recipe. They add a bright freshness to raw recipes and are perfect used as a garnish to finish dishes. If you’re making a sauce, stew or soup that will cook for more than 10 minutes, the prolonged heat will cause the oils in fresh herbs to dissipate and you’ll lose the fresh taste of the herbs. This is why I use dried herbs in the Italian seasoning to create the cherry tomato “sauce” for this recipe. I then finished the dish with the fresh basil at the very end, so that it maintains it’s bright, fresh flavor!
More pasta recipes
Try more of my favorite pasta recipes for dinner this week!
- Pasta alla Boscaiola – creamy mushroom and bacon pasta, made with fresh thyme and parsley.
- Shrimp Piccata Pasta – easy to make in one pot, in just 20 minutes!
- Creamy Vegetarian Tortellini Soup – this fan favorite is made in just 15 minutes!
- Easy Bolognese Meat Sauce – this classic Italian sauce is delicious served with pappardelle or spaghetti noodles!
- Garlic Mushroom Pasta – a simple pasta dish, made in just 25 minutes!
- 8 ounces angel hair pasta
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ¼ cup red onion, minced
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup North Shore Living basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
- Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove.
- On another burner on the stove, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the red onion and bell pepper.
- Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
- Add the grape tomatoes to the skillet with the Italian seasoning, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes begin to burst, 6-8 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the tomatoes.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet.
- Toss to combine everything.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh basil and mozzarella cheese.
- Serve immediately.
- Cherry tomatoes can be swapped in for the grape tomatoes.
- For the mozzarella, I recommend using a whole milk, low moisture fresh mozzarella cheese if possible. This will lightly melt into the pasta and add a nice creamy, texture to the dish.
- To add chicken to the pasta, check out this recipe for marinated and grilled Italian chicken. It pairs wonderfully with this pasta dish!
- I do not recommend making this recipe ahead of time. It is best when served immediately after you make it.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute the angel hair pasta for gluten free pasta. If you can’t find gluten-free angel hair, you can use gluten-free spaghetti or penne pasta instead.
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