Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella
Penne alla Caprese in Crudo

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Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella
Penne alla Caprese in Crudo
cookbook: Lidia's Favorite Recipes
season: summer
main ingredients: tomato
user comments (2)

serves: 6

This is one of those pasta dishes where there is no need to cook the sauce—just get the best and perfectly ripened tomatoes, the freshest mozzarella and the most aromatic basil you can find. These ingredients will make the perfect dressing for pasta, especially on hot summer days—rather than weighing down the stomach, this pasta becomes a refreshing and tasty treat. Keeping good ingredients like these on hand means throwing together a great dinner at the last minute is a breeze.


1 pound ripe cherry tomatoes on the vine, rinsed, dried and cut in half
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling over the finished pasta
4 garlic cloves, peeled
A pinch of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt, preferably coarse
1 pound penne pasta
10 fresh basil leaves, shredded
1/2 pound bocconcini, bite-size fresh mozzarella, cut in half


Toss the tomatoes, oil, sea salt, and crushed red pepper together in a large bowl. Whack the garlic with the side of a knife and toss it into the bowl. Let marinate at room temperature, tossing once or twice, for 30 minutes.

While the tomatoes are marinating, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat. Stir the penne into the boiling water and cook semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove the garlic, if you like, from the marinated tomatoes and toss in the basil. Drain the pasta, add it to the bowl of tomatoes, and toss well to mix. Check the seasoning, adding salt and more crushed red pepper if necessary. Gently stir in the bocconcini and serve.

Lidia's Favorite Recipes

From one of the most popular cookbook author/chefs at work today: her most accessible—and affordable—cookbook to date, a gathering of the recipes that have become her go-to meals: the best, the most beloved, the most delicious dishes in her repertoire. Lidia Bastianich gives us a fresh look at her favorite dishes, the ones that have made it to the table time and time again: more than 100 of her signature recipes, revised to be more concise and clear, but just as soul-satisfying as ever. From Baked Clams Oreganata, Marinated Winter Squash, and Spaghetti with Quick Garlic Tomato Sauce to Braised Beef Rolls, Shrimp Scampi, and Chocolate Bread Parfait, each recipe includes new information about the affordability, seasonality, and nutritional value of the ingredients. Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color photographs, Lidia's Favorite Recipes will give both new cooks and longtime fans something delicious to celebrate.

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