Maybe I had mentally dozed off during our weekly marketing meeting or my mind had wandered off to someplace more interesting than the small talk after we wrapped up the webinar, but my brain suddenly snapped back into focus as soon as I heard it… “caprice salad”. What? I had to ask my boss to repeat himself and explain what he was talking about. “You know, the salad with the tomatoes and mozzarella; a caprice salad.”
Before he’d even finished, I was doubled over in laughter. “Like a Chevy Caprice? I think you mean a Caprese (ka-pray-zey) salad… and you call yourselves Italian.”
Of course, this is the same man that swears gnocchi is pronounced yonky, so I don’t know what I was expecting.
Ever since that meeting, I can’t help but laugh to myself when I see a menu or recipe with Caprese in it 🙂 This pasta dish’s deliciousness is no laughing matter though! Call it Caprice, Caprese and Catie for all I care, this is a one tasty baked pasta.
Simple spaghetti noodles are coated with a sauce spiked with cream and cheese, tossed with mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes, topped with more of the same and baked until bubbly and delicious. The baked tomatoes are warm, oven-roasted pops of flavors while the melty, gooey cheese melds perfectly with the simple and creamy sauce. Unlike many pasta casseroles that may weigh you down with that carby feeling, this dish stays light and filling at the same time.
Creamy Caprese Pasta
- 1 pound spaghetti or other thin pasta
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish
- 4 ounces mozzarella balls
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare pasta al dente according to directions.
- While pasta is cooking, heat tomato sauce over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream and grated parmesan.
- Drain pasta and combine with sauce until well-coated. Add about ¾ of the mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes, stir to combine and pour into a baking dish.
- Top the pasta with the remaining tomatoes and mozzarella, adding additional parmesan cheese as a finishing touch.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Enjoy this as a side or a main course; add protein for a heartier dish.
Based on a recipe from How Sweet It Is