Caprese Pasta Salad with Blistered Tomatoes

Always a crowd favorite!  A fast, delicious and seasonal dish that will delight your crowd in less than 30 minutes.  Serve as a vegetarian entree, add protein for a heartier main meal or serve as a side for your next gathering.  However you serve it, it’s a guaranteed hit! 

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Caprese Pasta Salad with Blistered Tomatoes

Keyword: Easy Lunch, Weeknight Meals
Author: Denise


  • 1 lb favorite medium sized pasta penne, fusilli, campanella, etc
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz log fresh mozzarella cubed


  • 1/3 cup raw unsalted nuts of choice pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup to ¾ cup olive oil

To Serve:

  • Fresh basil roughly chopped or torn
  • Grated Parmesan cheese


  • Bring a large stock pot of generously salted water to a boil.  Once boiling, add pasta.  Cook until al dente, 1-2 minutes less than package instructions.
  • While pasta is cooking, prepare pesto.  Toast nuts in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned.
  • Place nuts and remaining pesto ingredients (through black pepper) in a food processor.
  • Pulse to break up nuts and incorporate basil and Parmesan. Begin to blend and while blending, drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Adjust level of oil to reach desired consistency.  Set aside until pasta is cooked.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1-2 Tbsp olive oil to bottom of pan. Add grape tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook 8-10 minutes, moving around often in pan.  You want tomatoes slightly blistered (wrinkled skin on exterior). Remove tomatoes from heat and set aside.⁣
  • Drain pasta and reserve one cup of pasta water.
  • In a large bowl, combine drained pasta and pesto.  Gently mix until pesto covers pasta.  Add some reserved pasta water to get desired sauce consistency (start with 1/2 cup and add up to 1 cup).  Add grated Parmesan cheese and toss.  Use a slotted spoon to remove tomatoes from pan (leave any excess oil or liquid) and add to pasta.  Add cubed mozzarella as well.  Gently toss to combine.
  • Serve immediately.  Add fresh basil and grated Parmesan to top for garnish, if desired.


If you are in a rush, substitute a store bought pesto for a faster version!
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