Simplicity has done it again with this effortless and so flavorful pasta dish. The Trinity of Italian cuisine emerges and peeks out through the macaroni. Sauteed garlic pairs perfectly with the sweet cherry tomatoes. Using only the best of ingredients, because these are the stars, of course. Fresh buffalo mozzarella if you can, softer and more tender than the traditional. You don’t “cook” the cheese, but rather let the warmth of the al-dente noodles slowly give way to the softening mozzarella.
I first had this dish in Rome, Italy at a quaint little restaurant behind the Pantheon. Armando al Pantheon has no more than 6 tables and is run by the uncle, the niece, sister, etc. Their dishes are on point and magnifico! It was here I discovered and fell in love with their version of caprese pasta and have never tasted something as simple and amazing since. Black specks laced through out the spaghetti, which was in fact “wild strawberry”. The spaghetti was perfect to the tooth, the basil was vibrant, mozzarella creamy and tomatoes sweet. The perfect balance.
|The Amazing Kitchen Staff at Armando al Pantheon|
1/2 lb Tagliatelle (or whatever pasta shape you chose)
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella, roughly torn into chunks
Small bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 Tb of butter
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
*1/2 lb of Pasta is good for about 2-3people
1) Begin to get water boiling for your pasta and start cooking to package directions. This is a quick dish.
Heat another skillet for sauce.
2) Drizzle enough olive oil to coat bottom of skillet. Add chopped garlic.
Saute for about 2 minutes until LIGHTLY caramelized, but DON”T burn.
3) Add cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper and optional red pepper flakes. Cook for 3-5minutes.
Turn to coat.
4) Lower heat. Add butter and chopped basil.
5) When pasta is al-dente, add to skillet and turn to coat.
6) Add fresh mozzarella and turn to coat, allowing cheese to slowly melt into the pasta.
* I chose to use tagliatelle pasta this time. It’s thicker than linguine and gives an extra bite.
Have fun with different pasta shapes. If you can find fresh pasta, try that too!