Friday, July 5, 2019

Giada's Caprese Pasta Salad

July 4th might be over but it is still the holiday weekend and a summer full of potlucks and parties. Nothing says summer like good pasta salad, especially when it is a pasta salad version of a classic like Giada's Caprese Pasta Salad.

I made a few small changes to the recipe--adding capers, using marinated mozzarella balls and stirring in about 1/2 cup of artichoke pesto I had on hand for extra oomph. Easy and delicious!

Caprese Pasta Salad
Slightly Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis via
(Yields 6 Servings)

1 lb fusilli pasta (I used rotini)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 4 cloves)
(I added 1 1/2 Tbsp capers, drained)
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1 1/2 pints) (I used local Heirloom minis)
I added 1/2 cup jarred artichoke pesto (this one)
1 tsp salt, or to taste (use less if capers are undrained)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
8 oz fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 1/4 cups) (I used marinated mini mozzarella balls)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a medium skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic (and capers) and and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. As the tomatoes cook and soften, smash them with a fork. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky style sauce, about 4 minutes.

Transfer the tomato sauce to the bowl with the pasta. Toss to combine. Add (the pesto if using), basil leaves and mozzarella. Stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until the pasta is moist. (Note: I also added some of my marinade from my mozzarella balls to moisten the pasta, adding extra flavor.) Serve.

Notes/Results: If you love pasta and you love caprese salad, you will enjoy this recipe. The mix of flavors--sweet, savory, garlicky, briny and the texture of the pasta, cheese and chunky tomato sauce make it a winner. I think the capers and pesto are the perfect touch but you could omit them or add a drizzle of your favorite balsamic for another flavor punch. Fresh and good mozzarella, tomatoes and basil make this salad sing and taste like summer in a pasta bowl. I liked this salad at room temp best, but chilled is nice too. Easy to put together and really good, I would happily make it again.

Linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is I'll Bring the Pasta Salad. Any pasta salad from any of our nineteen featured chefs.

I'm also sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Finally I am linking up this pasta salad to Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays, right here at Kahakai Kitchen and where any of the above dishes are welcome. ;-) Here's the link to this week's link up.



  1. Oh this looks good -- I have a pasta salad in my refrigerator right now. Mine is more Greek than Italian. I'm bookmarking this for our next summer gathering.

  2. The flavors in your salad sound delightful — especially if you could get tomatoes grown near to your home that are still very tasty and just ripe enough.

    best... mae at

  3. Delicious! I love any recipe that uses those delicious craveworthy mozzarella balls. Why are they so irresistible, Deb? Love how you added the extras for more flavor, especially the capers;)

  4. That's a winner, such a nice cool salad for this time of year. Hoping to hook up this week. I had eye surgery and I miss reading and doing posting but this may be the week I can link up!

  5. I love the addition of the capers! Great adaptations! I haven't made a pasta salad all summer. Need to do something about that!


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