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 the appetizer-sized portions thinking the kids would never dare try them 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 LOVE bruschetta. They ate every last bite, aside from the little taste I had while I was seasoning the dish with salt and pepper.
The girls had asked me a few times to pick up the ingredients so they could make bruschetta again. So when I saw some particularly yummy-looking artisan tomatoes on sale last week, I picked up a several pints, along with some fresh French bread. Got home from the store, dropped off 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 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 had a Zoom call soon.
Then I remembered a recipe a friend shared with me a while ago for a one-pot caprese pasta that 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, 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 pan and brought up a big molten clump of cheese. Unfortunately, from the heat of the pasta, the mozzarella chunks 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. 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 reduction over the pasta. Don’t be like me and forget to garnish with Parmesan cheese. That little touch really brings the flavor to another level of deliciousness.
The kids favorite variation is when I omit the balsamic vinegar and add about 1/4-1/3 cup of tomato pesto. It is scrumptious and we will definitely be making that version again very soon.
This truly is a one-pot, super simple recipe. Just throw everything into the pan and let the magic happen!
One-Pot Linguine alla Caprese
This One-Pot Linguine Alla Caprese is a winner! Delicious, and so quick and easy to make. BONUS the cleanup is even easier!
- 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, divided, reserve a few whole leaves for garnish
- 1 teaspoon Litehouse freeze dried garlic (can sub with bottled minced garlic or about 2 freshly minced garlic cloves)
- 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*
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- In a stockpot, combine water, olive oil, pasta, tomatoes, 1/3 cup 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 tablespoons chopped fresh basil; adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or sugar, if desired.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar/balsamic reduction, garnish with grated parmesan cheese and a whole basil leaf. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Set Instant Pot to saute. Heat oil and add garlic, saute for about one minute, until it's fragrant but not browning, then add basil, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Mix Well.
- Pour in 1 1/2 cups water and add the pasta. Stir.
- Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to manual for 5 minutes, high pressure, be sure the pressure valve is set to "sealing".
- When done, quick release the pressure, open the lid, and stir to mix.
- Remove the pasta to a serving bowl/platter, add mozzarella, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and stir, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar/balsamic reduction.
- Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and a whole basil leaf. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
*NOTE: place mozzarella on plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes. Freezing prevents it from getting chewy or congealing into one giant blob of cheese when it comes in contact with the hot pasta.
One Pot Tomato Pesto Linguine: omit the balsamic vinegar and add about 1/4-1/3 cup of tomato pesto.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 357mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 11g
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only.
What is your favorite one-pot recipe?