Caprese Pasta Salad
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 lb. fusilli or other spiral-shaped pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, either small balls or torn chunks
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3-4 TBSP chiffonade of fresh basil, for garnish
  • For the pesto:
  • 1½ cups fresh basil, lightly packed
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted (can sub walnuts or sunflower seeds)
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (can sub pecorino)
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, roasted (or 2-3 cloves raw)
  • 2-3 TBSP fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • ½-3/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • big pinch of salt, to taste
  1. In a blender, combine all the pesto ingredients except the olive oil. While blending, drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto has reached desired consistency. Taste, and add more salt or lemon juice as needed. Set aside.
  2. Cook pasta until al-dente, if serving the salad warm, or just past al-dente, if you plan to serve it cold or at room temperature. Reserve ¼-1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
  3. Thin the pesto with 2-3 TBSP pasta water to create a more sauce like consistency, then pour the pesto over the pasta while it is still warm. Toss to combine, adding more pasta water as needed until the pasta is coated evenly.
  4. If serving immediately, add the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and toasted pine nuts, and garnish with a chiffonade of fresh basil. If making in advance, cover and store in the fridge, then mix in the tomatoes, mozzarella, and pine nuts just before serving. If the pasta becomes too dry, add a little more pesto, or a drizzle of olive oil, as needed. Can be made up to a day in advance.
Recipe by Will Cook For Friends at