May 25, 2014

Caprese Pasta

I recently decided to delve into my older pins that I still haven't made, and had great success with this recipe from How Sweet It Is.  I did make some alterations, like just browning the ground beef instead of making mini meatballs, but in the end my recipe is pretty identical.  Served with a simple salad, this was an excellent meal all around.  My guests loved it, and my family will definitely be seeing more of this dish.  :)

(Serves 4-6)
For the beef
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the pasta
  • 1 pound pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, diced (or 8 oz mini mozzarella balls)
  • 1/3 cup pasta water, reserved
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Set a large pot of generously salted water to boil.  Add pasta and cook according to package directions.  Reserve 1/3 cup of pasta water before draining.
  2. While pasta cooks, add all beef ingredients to a large pan and cook until browned.  Set aside.
  3. At the same time you are browning the beef, heat olive oil in a separate large pan set to medium heat.  Sautee garlic about 1 minute.  Add diced and grape tomatoes and basil.  Stir to coat in pan oil and juices.  Mix in up to 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water to make sauce desired consistency (I didn't use much).  Cook just 2-3 minutes more until grape tomatoes are tender.  Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl mix the cooked pasta, beef, and tomato sauce.  Add the mozzarella and stir gently to combine.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and basil garnish, as desired.
Extreme cheesy closeup!

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