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Twink's Treats: Caprese’s Not Just a Salad

Twink's Treats: Caprese’s Not Just a Salad

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…. Truer words were never spoken. The middle of  July – 90+ degree temps with double digit humidity – The South in all its glory! Life seems to move a little slower now. I’m a Carolina girl at heart, and love, love, love the beach. I was blessed with a wonderful vacation and time out from my regular life a few weeks ago. My husband and I had a wonderful beach trip with our best friends at their home in South Carolina. To make it even more special, my son, and daughter -in -law and granddaughter joined us for a few days. There’s nothing like it - the beach is the one place in the world I can truly relax and let worries and stress go for a while. A little piece of heaven. And watching my sweet 2-year old princess run into the water and marvel at the ocean and sand – priceless!

And along with that piece of heaven, the homegrown vegetables were in full swing down in the Low country. We took full advantage of them and ate tomatoes, green beans, squash, corn, berries, melons – if it was at the Farmer’s Market, we bought it and ate it. I’m still tasting in my mind…. Right now, tomatoes are in full swing here as well. Since we are blessed with a short timespan for homegrown tomatoes, my mantra is that you have to eat them every day while you can. They won’t last forever, and the imposters (aka grocery store tomatoes in the winter) aren’t worthy. So, I’ve got many recipes and ways to utilize these summer jewels. One dish we particularly love is Tomato Caprese Pasta. This can be either a main dish or a stellar side dish. Here’s my version:

Twink’s Tomato Caprese Pasta – Serves 6
1 pound pasta (use your favorite, but I use campanelle or cavatappi noodles)
3 ripe medium or large tomatoes
¼ cup onion (Vidalia), chopped
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, shredded
¼ cup butter
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup Pasta water
Fresh mozzarella, cut into pieces (I use BelGioiso)
Salt and Pepper

Peel and cut tomatoes into pieces and put into large pasta bowl. Add onion, parsley, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper tomato mixture. Set aside. In salted water, boil pasta until desired doneness (we like it firm, al dente style). Drain water, reserving about ½ cup pasta water. Return pasta to pot, add butter, cream, pasta water, and salt/pepper. Stir until blended, add pasta mixture to tomato mixture in pasta bowl and stir to mix well. Stir in fresh mozzarella pieces, and top with chopped basil. Season more to taste if you need to. ENJOY!

This is great as a main dish along with a green salad and red wine – or as a side dish with chicken. Until next time, be kinder than necessary, and remember that beautiful things happen when you erase negativity from your life! -Twink

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