Caprese Pasta Salad

Writer and photographer Monica Longenbaker

This potluck standout combines two of summer’s most iconic salads: the caprese salad and pasta salad. Tender pasta is tossed with pillows of pearl mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, fragrant basil, and seasoned with garlic oil and balsamic vinegar. This salad is big on flavor and will stand up well to the summer heat.

Caprese Pasta Salad
Yield: 6-8 Servings

Salad ingredients:
8 ounces short-cut pasta (such as miniature farfalle)
1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1½ cups mozzarella pearls
¼ cup garlic oil (see recipe below)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Garlic oil ingredients:
1 cup olive oil
6-10 garlic cloves, smashed

Salad directions:
Boil pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked pasta, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella pearls, garlic oil, and balsamic vinegar. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garlic oil directions:
Combine olive oil and garlic cloves in a small sauté pan or saucepan. Place over low heat and gently cook for about 15-20 minutes. Be sure the pan is not too hot or the garlic will burn.

Remove pan from heat and let oil sit for at least 10 minutes (up to two hours). Once oil is cool enough to handle, pour it through a strainer to remove garlic pieces. Reserve oil.

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