Thursday, August 7, 2014

Caprese Pasta Bake with Fresh Garden Tomatoes

Call me crazy, but every morning I walk out to my garden with my mug of coffee and admire my tomatoes. I daydream of recipes like this one or biting into a juicy tomato sandwich. 
Back when I was young, our neighbor taught me that the uglier the tomato, the better the flavor. The heirloom varieties tend to be deformed and remind me of Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but don't we all know not to judge a thing by it's appearance. Little life lessons from the garden. 
This simple pasta is divine. I came across the recipe on Instagram and the rest is history. Add it to your repertoire of thirty minute meals. 

Caprese Pasta Bake with Fresh Garden Tomatoes
adapted from the Reluctant Entertainer

1 (16 ounce) box whole wheat pasta (I like whole wheat Dellalo)
1 (25 ounce) jar of tomato basil pasta sauce
2 cups rotisserie chicken, chopped *optional - I left out*
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Make pasta according to package directions, making sure it’s cooked al dente; drain. Chop rotisserie chicken and basil and set aside. Slice tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
  2. Returned the drained pasta back into the pot, and combine the pasta, tomato sauce, chicken, and half the basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat lightly throughout.
  3. Turn the oven on to broil. Place the mixture in a 9x13 greased pan. Top with the sliced tomatoes and the sliced cheese.
  4. Broil for about 5-7 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown and is bubbly.
  5. Serve sprinkled with the remaining chopped basil leaves.

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