Baked Caprese Pasta

Last month I had a cooking date with my friend Jacque and it was fabulous. I rarely cook with other people so it was nice to mix it up. Picking food to share with her can be tricky because she’s allergic to a number of things. She can’t have dairy or fresh cheese but if it’s cooked, it’s all good (whew). We agreed on this simple, tasty caprese pasta bake. Allergy approved!A few weeks ago I went on a trip to California with my bestie Julie and her boy Doug. It was amazing. We met up in San Francisco and hung out with her sister Jenny for a few days, drove down the coast along highway 1, then stayed with friends in Los Angeles for a few days over the 4th of July. Soo scenic! The trip worked out quite nicely considering all we had really planned was that we were going to rent a car and drive down the coast. Yay for friends! Here are a few snapshots of the trip…

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
1 lb whole wheat rigate
1 cup pasta sauce (of your choosing)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup grated parmesan + more for garnish
4-8 oz mozzarella, cut into cubes
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch basil leaves, chiffonade

Preheat oven to 350 F. Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta cooks, heat the pasta sauce over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in the heavy cream and grated parmesan. When the pasta is done, drain and dump into the sauce. Mix to coat the pasta and turn off the heat. Fold in the mozzarella cubes and grape tomatoes. Chop 3-4 basil leaves and add them to the pan. Once combined, spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the pasta mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella cubes.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden. Top with additional fresh basil and grated parmesan.

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is.

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