Creamy Caprese Pasta

Creamy Caprese Pasta

Ooey, gooey cheesy pasta is one of my favorite things in the world. I try to feature healthier recipes on Broke and Cooking, but let's all face it...carbs is life. We've all gotta have some yummy pasta every now and then. With the weather getting colder, this is the perfect dish for getting cozy on the couch and binge-watching Netflix. It's super easy to make, and really easy on the budget. Caprese is a simple Italian salad made of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil; often dressed with salt and olive oil. This pasta tosses all that goodness together and gets a nice golden crust in the oven. Creamy Caprese Pasta is full of robust tomato flavor and can feed a herd of people for very little cost. Let's get cookin! 

What You Need:

  • 8 oz uncooked pasta such as penne, shells, or rigatoni
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed or shredded
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes
  • fresh basil
  • salt, pepper, and oregano
  • oven-safe baking dish

What To Do: 

  • Preheat your oven to 375F.
  • Wash the cherry tomatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. I like to leave some of them whole as well :) 
  • Dice half a yellow onion and mince 2 cloves of garlic. 
  • Boil the pasta, draining when finished.
  • Heat a saucepan or skillet over medium high heat. Drizzle a few tsps of olive oil. Sauté the onions until translucent, seasoning them with salt and pepper.
  • Tomato paste is super concentrated and adds a meaty flavor to whatever dish you add it to. It adds wonderful body to sauces. To use it correctly, you want to add it before the sauce. You're looking to warm it through, brown it a bit so that the sugars caramelize. It's a great way to boost the flavor of any dish you're cooking. 
  • Add 1 tbsp tomato paste to the sautéed onions and stir to incorporate it. Allow it to brown and cook through. Throw in the cherry tomatoes.
  • Stir in 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce and 1/3 cup heavy cream. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, and oregano. You can toss in some red pepper flakes if you want to make it spicy. 
  • Scoop in the cooked pasta, stirring to coat. Fold in the mozzarella cubes! 
  • Toss some chopped basil in the pasta. 
  • Transfer the pasta into an oven-safe baking dish. You can top it off with extra mozzarella if you like. Throw it in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.
  • Serve immediately with fresh basil!

The best part is how the cheese bakes up and forms a nice crust, just like on a lasagna! The pasta is so creamy and flavorful, and I love the pop of the cherry tomatoes :) You can even top the pasta off with some grated Parmesan. 

Tonight I'm getting on a plane to Hong Kong :) I'm so excited for this amazing experience and can't wait to share it with you guys! Have a great week!!