I whipped up this amazing dish last week for dinner. I’m a huge fan of caprese salad, but now the nights are growing chilly, a salad doesn’t exactly cut it for dinner. I’m very keen to use up my basil plants before the cold kills them off in the next few weeks. I also wanted to use the rigatoni I had bought in Bali and was saving for something special. It was the perfect comforting meal for a chilly autumn night.
250g of Pasta (I used rigatoni but you could use penne)
100g of fresh mozzarella
100g of grated cheddar & mozzarella mix
50g of grated parmesan
10 cherry tomatoes
10-12 basil leaves
300g of tomatoes or 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1/2 red onion
5 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
100ml cream (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 french baguette
4 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of pesto
Grated fresh Parmesan
To make the sauce blend the tomatoes, onion, and garlic until it’s a smooth paste. Add the sugar, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, herbs, and salt & pepper, and boil for about 10 minutes. While the sauce is boiling, cook the pasta until it’s soft on the outside but still a little hard in the middle then drain. When the tomato sauce is done stir in the cream if using. Put the pasta in a dish and pour over the sauce. Top with the remaining cherry tomatoes, scatter over the cheese and torn basil leaves, and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
To make the pesto garlic bread, crush the garlic and mix together with the butter and pesto until it is a nice soft paste. Spread generously on the french bread and top with grated parmesan. Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the butter and cheese have melted and they are golden brown.
Serve the pasta caprese with the garlic pesto bread and a glass of wine. Warning: your home may be filled with a delicious smell for long after the pasta is gone which may cause you to repeat all previous cooking instructions!