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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.

Ingredients

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

Sauce

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

Garlic bread 

1 french baguette

4 cloves of garlic

4 tablespoons of butter

1 tablespoon of pesto

Grated fresh Parmesan

Directions 

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.

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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.

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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!

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