"The perfect low-hassle pasta salad that tastes gourmet: balsamic glaze drizzled over baby heirloom tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and mostaccioli pasta."
With the Phoenix heat in full swing, I’m on the hunt for anything to help keep us cool – drinks, desserts, ice packs, cruises to Antarctica, you name it. If something is served cooler than body temperature then I’m all over it.
Another glorious addition to that keeping-things-cool list?
They’re like my summer anthem this year.
So to top off what has been a fairly stressful week, I whipped up what could possibly be the most no-hassle yet flavorful pasta salad I could think of:
Caprese pasta salad.
Because, yes, I do want to drizzle delicious balsamic glaze over baby heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella and chilled pasta.
Phoenix will be getting a small break from the heat soon. There’s a big storm coming later tonight, promising lots of wind and rain, and storms like that have the same effect on Phoenicians as snow does to my friends back east: everyone will be talking about it and clearing the stores out of bread and milk.
The panic of the locals isn’t totally uncalled for, either, because for the most part the Valley of the Sun wasn’t built with the best drainage system (and by that I mean it doesn’t have a drainage system. At all).
It only takes a little bit of rain to start a flood, and once it’s flooded, it takes forever for the water to clear out. It’s not uncommon to see the local kids floating around in inner tubes in the 6+ feet of water that’s collected in the park down the street.
And while that may sound kind of fun at first, it’s also super gross, because this park is a dog park, people. You know what dogs do in dog parks. Come get your kids before Darwinism does.
But as for what I’ll be doing during the storm? I plan to camp out on my back porch, watching the rain (because that’s what we do here in Phoenix – watch the rain fall like it’s some seriously good CGI) and chow down on what’s left of this delicious caprese pasta.
The real trick here will be making sure there is something left to enjoy, because I’ve already taken down half of it on my own.
I’d hate to have to brave the madness at the store tomorrow just to buy more tomatoes, or run the risk of getting sucked into the swamp-park along the way.
The good news about this whole storm business is that it means the “heat bubble” will break for a few days, dropping temperatures about 10-15 degrees until everything clears out and dries up.
Caprese Pasta Salad
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
Caprese Pasta Salad
- 1 lb pasta any type (I used mostaccioli)
- 1 cup tomato any type, cut in half (I used baby heirlooms)
- 4 oz mozzarella ball fresh, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup basil fresh, roughly chopped
For the Balsamic Glaze
- In a small sauce pan, bring 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and let balsamic simmer for at least 20 minutes or until vinegar has reduced by 1/2. Use a spoon to test the glaze - it should leave a film on the back of the spoon when ready. Glaze will thicken more once removed from heat.
- Place glaze in the refrigerator until ready to use. If glaze thickens too much while resting, stir in 1/4 tsp of water at a time until desired consistency is reached.
For the Caprese Pasta Salad
- In a large saucepan, cook noodles in salted water per package directions. Drain and immediately rise the pasta with ice cold water to stop it from cooking.
- Place cooled pasta in a large bowl. Toss in cut tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Drizzle balsamic glaze on top. Serve immediately.