Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese salad is a classic Italian dish that boasts sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil leaves, layered together and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil (it actually resembles the Italian flag if you think about it). It's scrumptious because you need little else when ingredients are pure and fabulous. 

To catapult the salad, I added cooked rotelle (spiral) pasta, grated parmesan cheese, oregano, and a little red wine vinegar. I also used grape tomatoes instead of sliced tomatoes. And, of course, both the traditional caprese and my pasta salad get seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper. This is a true winner, and the perfect last-minute dinner for a busy weeknight. 

Caprese Pasta Salad

1 pound rotelle or spiral pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4-6 ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-size pieces
16-20 grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese 
10-12 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. While the pasta is still warm, add the oil, vinegar, and oregano. Toss to coat. Let the pasta cool for a few minutes (so it doesn't melt the mozzarella). 
Fold in the mozzarella, tomatoes, parmesan, and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Serves 4