Pasta Caprese (this recipe will be warm, not hot)
loose 6 cups of fresh basil (tight-packed 3 cups)
2-3 garlic cloves
2 tsp sugar
4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt (at least)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb rotelle pasta (you can also use penne, or anything similar)
1 can petite diced tomatoes (or 1 cup seeded and diced fresh tomatoes)
1 lb fresh mozzarella, cubed (you can substitute Sorrento mozzarella, it's very good!)
First: Start water (plus 1 tsp salt) heating for pasta. While you are waiting for it to boil, cube the mozzarella and put it in the freezer.
Second: When water boils, add the pasta. While it is cooking, put the basil, shallot, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor. If your pesto is too thick, add a drizzle of olive oil. Blend till relatively smooth. It should be BRIGHT green!
Third: When pasta is cooked, drain and quickly return to pot off heat. Add pesto and tomatoes, stir to coat. Add cheese, stir to combine, add salt/pepper if needed, serve IMMEDIATELY!! Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Note: This recipe makes about a cup of pesto. We made a half batch, and it was plenty for the 4 of us for one meal. You can make this in advance and freeze the pesto! So: 3 cups packed basil=1 cup pesto=1 lb pasta. I'm going to freeze it in 1/2 cup quantities. It is yummy for leftovers, but not nearly as pretty! Also, if you are like my hubby, and don't care about the cheese getting all gooey, you can mix it together over heat so it can be served hot instead of warm. Or skip the cheese-freezing step. (cold cheese cools the pasta down)