A few weeks ago I received a free trial of one of those food delivery services. I was excited to see bruschetta on the menu. I made theÂ appetizer-sized portions thinking the kids would never dare try themÂ and the hubby and I would have a nice little treat all to ourselves. But sadly that was not meant to be. Turns out my kids LOVEÂ bruschetta. They ate every last bite, aside from the little taste I had while I wasÂ seasoning the dish with salt and pepper.
The girls had asked me a few times to pick up the ingredients so they could makeÂ bruschettaÂ again. So when I saw some particularly yummy-looking artisanÂ tomatoes on sale last week, I picked up a several pints,Â along with some fresh French bread. Got home from the store, dropped offÂ the groceries and ran back out to pick up one of the girls from an after school activity. When I got back 15 minutes later the French bread was completely gone. The hubby and kids had gotten into it and ate the whole 36 inch loaf!
With dinnertime looming, I had to scramble to figure out what to cook and it needed to be something fairly quick and easy because I was going to a movie with a friend in less than an hour. Then I remembered a recipe a friend shared with me a while ago for a one-pot caprese pasta thatÂ sounded really good and used pretty much the exact same ingredients as the bruschetta. I searched up the recipe, printed it out, and started cooking.
Surprisingly,Â the recipe was as easy to make as it sounded, AND it smelled amazing. The fragrance drew all the kids, one-by-one, into the kitchen. “Something smells yummy! What’s for dinner?”
I was super excited to taste it. I followed the directions, tossing the mozzarella in with the hot pasta and seasoned it just so. I used our wonderful OXO Good Grips Nylon Spaghetti Server to dig in to the panÂ and brought up a big molten clump of cheese.Â Unfortunately, from the heat of the pasta, the mozzarella chunksÂ melted into one globby mess. Other than the muddled mozzarella, the pasta was delicious!
Did some research later and learned a little trick to keep the mozzarella from getting globby and chewy: freeze it for about 10 minutes before adding it to the hot pasta. The mozzarella will thaw to perfection from the heat of the pasta and you will not have a big glob of cheese at the bottom of your pan.
I’ve made this a few times now and each time I have improved on the dish.Â I really like balsamic vinegar, so I add probably 1/4 cup or more to the pasta. You can adjust this to your own taste; if you want to make it really sing, drizzle a balsamic reductionÂ over the pasta. Don’t be like me andÂ forget to garnish with Parmesan cheese. ThatÂ little touch really brings the flavor toÂ another level of deliciousness.
The kids favorite variation is when I omit the balsamic vinegar and add about 3-4 tablespoons of tomato pesto. It isÂ scrumptious and we will definitely be making that version again very soon.
This truly is a one-pot, super simple recipe.Â Just throw everything into the pan and let the magic happen!
One-Pot Linguine alla Caprese
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons high quality olive oil such as Columela Extra-Virgin
- 1 box (16oz) of linguine
- 1 pound cherry/grape tomatoes, quartered (I used a pint)
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic (or about 2 garlic cloves, minced)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- splash of balsamic vinegar, to taste
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (NOTE: place mozzarella on plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes. Freezing prevents it from turning chewy when it comes in contact with the hot pasta).
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- In a stockpot, combine water, olive oil, pasta, tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Cook over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 11 to 12 minutes, or until pasta is thoroughly cooked and water reduced. Stir occasionally.
- Remove from heat and let stand 2-3 minutes.
- Add mozzarella, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar, gently toss to combine.
- Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 2 T chopped fresh basil; adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or sugar, if desired.
- Serve immediately.
What is your favorite one-pot recipe?