One of my favorite salads is the Caprese. It contains basil, tomatoes and mozzarella with a balsamic reduction and olive oil drizzle. It is even better when you can create this salad with the ingredients from the garden, so fresh and the aroma of the basil fills the air. I can smell it now just talking about it! This salad really makes everything in it taste so fresh and highlights each ingredient well. Mellow Mushroom usually has the salad on their starter menu, as well as other places, but thats where I first came to know the Caprese. And fell in love! My family and I were headed to the lake to visit family and I needed something to take. I had all the ingredients for this salad but knew it wouldn’t really be “heavy” enough for the boys. So I added small pasta shells to the salad and created this. Everyone really enjoyed it ( the bowl was empty upon leaving) and it was easy to travel with. I serve this cold so for a hot day this is the perfect go to!
Small Pasta Shells- 2 cups
Basil- 1 bunch (half of a 2.5 ounce package)
Cherry Tomatoes- 1 package (16 ounces)
Mozzarella Pearls- 1 package (8 ounces) or you can chop mozzarella into bite size pieces,you can add another package if needed.
Balsamic Vinegar- 1/2 cup
Olive Oil- 1/4 cup
Salt- 1/4 teaspoon
Pepper- 1/4 teaspoon
Put Balsamic vinegar in pan, bring to boil then reduce to a simmer and allow it to simmer for about 8-10 minutes ( you want the vinegar to start to resemble syrup) let cool.
Boil the noodles, once cooked run cold water over them to stop them from cooking. Let them cool.
Chop Basil, to make it easy roll all the leaves together and chop. Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
Add noodles in bowl, add basil, tomatoes, and break apart the mozzarella and toss in salad. Add salt and pepper.
Add the balsamic reduction and olive oil, toss all together well ( the vinegar will add a slight brown tint to the salad once added). Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
*You could even add grilled chicken and call it a meal !