Sunday, August 26, 2012

Caprese Pasta Salad with Chicken

Here's another one that I made MONTHS ago, and am just now getting around to sharing.

I pulled out this recipe in mid-May for my then-boyfriend (now-fiance!) on his birthday. I swear, he could eat this every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. I would like to pretend that I waited to post it until tomatoes were in season, but to be perfectly honest, I've just been too caught up in the excitement of getting engaged to worry about blogging. Regardless, I'm posting this at precisely the right time of year for you to try it yourselves :-)

My fiance prefers it straight out of the fridge -- the colder, the better. Personally, I prefer it at room temperature, but it's yummy no matter what. With so much fresh basil, mozzerella, and tomatoes, how can you go wrong, right?

Caprese Pasta Salad with Chicken
(adapted from The Cooking Photographer, who got the idea here and added a vinagrette from here)

Lemon Vinaigrette:

2 teaspoons finely grated lemons zest
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed to wet pasta

Blend the lemon zest and juice, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette to taste with more salt and pepper.

Pasta:1 pound pasta (whatever fun shape you like)
2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 9 ounces total)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound diced ripe tomatoes
16 ounce tub fresh mozzarella pearls, drained
Lemon vinaigrette
Lots of fresh basil, chopped (I don't think it's possible to use too much)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon oil reserved from tomatoes in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet and sauté until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate and cool; do not clean skillet. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch pieces.

Cook the pasta according to the directions, drain, and rinse with cold water. Move the pasta to a large serving bowl and toss together with the rest of the ingredients.

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