Caprese Pasta (kinda)

Tonight I felt like something that tasted fresh for dinner. What I ended up making was a caprese pasta… I think? Although to be honest I’m not sure exactly what others put in theirs so maybe mine isn’t quite aptly named. I liked this dish because it was super flavorful, tasted very fresh, was meatless, and even my husband liked it (selling him a dish sans meat is always a challenge). Also, this dish CAN be pretty healthy (or, it can be NOT healthy… it is up to you!).

Sorry for the crappy picture. I didn’t realize before I took it that it would turn out good enough to post! Also, this is very similar to another pasta I posted last year (I guess I’m consistent in what I like!) except it has a few extra ingredients and is prepared a little differently. This feels more like dinner food to me.

1/3 to 1/2 box wheat pasta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2-8 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup julienned basil
1/4 cup fresh grated romano or parmesan cheese
salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste

First, wash and dry a big handful of fresh basil leaves. Julienne them (which just means stack the leaves, roll them, and then slice thinly), and put them in a small dish. Pour 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over them and mix them around. I always like to let my basil sit in the oil while I’m preparing the rest of my meal because the oil takes on the basil flavor. You can do this a few hours ahead of time if you’re on top of things. Or, if you’re not (like me), just do it first.

Next, put a pot of water on to boil. While it is heating up, chop half an onion, and mince your preferred amount of garlic. I used 8 cloves because we loooooove garlic. The pasta turned out very garlic-y and spicy. If you’re not insane like we are, maybe start at 2-3 cloves. Next, chop your tomatoes roughly (i.e. not too small).

Once your water is boiling, add the pasta. Set a large pan on medium-high heat. Add just about 1 tbspn of the oil from the basil. When it is hot, add the onions. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until translucent. Then add the garlic. Sauté 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir. Reduce to low heat. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and add it to the pan with everything else. Add the 1/4 cup cheese (make sure it is fresh– it comes in the refrigerated section), and salt and pepper to taste. Also add some crushed red pepper if you like spice (we do). Stir it and taste for salt/pepper level. Immediately before serving, add the remainder of the oil (including all the basil mixed in) and toss. Garnish with cheese.

And that is it! As it is, it is not too unhealthy. There isn’t much cheese and extra virgin olive oil is heart healthy (while a bit high in calories). To make it healthier, use whole wheat pasta (we do– you really can’t tell I promise), and reduce the oil and cheese. To make it less healthy, use normal pasta and add more cheese. Enjoy!


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