What’s cooking today: Caprese pasta

What’s cooking today: Caprese pasta
Tony Jackman’s creamy caprese pasta. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

The world-famous caprese salad that mirrors the colours of the Italian flag is turned into a pasta dish in this recipe, and creamed up to make it luscious and moreish.

The famous caprese salad of the isle of Capri is joyfully simple – just mozzarella cheese, tomato and basil, with olive oil or a dressing. This trio of ingredients also works beautifully in a pasta sauce. Making the difference is the inclusion of cream, which becomes the carrier of those lovely things.

The salad we call Caprese, or Insalata Caprese in Italian, originates on Capri on the Tyrrhenian Sea where the Mediterranean meets the Bay of Naples. To find out more about caprese salad and its origins, read my Throwback Thursday column about it here.

I almost invariably include onion in a pasta sauce but there is none in this although there is garlic. I also used butter as well as olive oil.

(Serves 2)


250 g cavatappi (spiral) pasta

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp butter

150 g baby Roma tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes

Basil leaves

250 g mozzarella, cubed, or balls of mozzarella if you are lucky enough to be able to source a quality product

100 ml cream

2 ladles of pasta water

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste



Melt the butter with the olive oil and, on a very low heat, lightly simmer the baby tomatoes with the chopped garlic in it for a few minutes.

Add the can of chopped tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook for about five minutes to develop the flavours.

Add the cream, stir, and simmer for another five minutes, making sure that the cream does not make the sauce boil over. Season with salt and pepper.

Boil the pasta in lightly salted water until al dente. Add two ladles of the pasta water to the sauce, stir and simmer for another few minutes. Drain the pasta.

Add the mozzarella to the sauce and let it melt into it, but avoid stirring too much.

Toss the pasta through the sauce.

Serve with fresh basil leaves and grated Parmesan. DM

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a ceramic plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


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