Tag Archives: italy

Summer Salad ~ Pasta Caprese

I wish I could say our summer travel took us to the island of Capri…


It’s on the bucket list.

Instead we will enjoy a salad which gained it’s fame on the gorgeous Amalfi Coast ~ Caprese Insalata

We went to spend an evening with our neighbors last weekend and I offered to bring a salad. With four bright red tomatoes from my friend’s community garden plot sitting in our vegetable crisper and a bunch of basil in our own backyard, I decided to do a caprese salad, but add in pasta for a heartier side dish yet still fresh and summery.

Pasta Caprese

{recipe via}

  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced {I used about 8 cloves!}
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound pasta, such as campanelle, penne or fusilli {I used gemelli}
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, shallot and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add sugar, if desired (depending on the sweetness of your tomatoes). Add the tomatoes and gently toss. Marinate at room temperature, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

Add the pasta and mozzarella to the tomato mixture and toss. Stir in the basil and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, tossing occasionally, until serving.

{Note: the original recipe called for 1/4 cup lemon juice. I felt it needed some balsamic so I subbed 1/8 cup with that acid, but if you don’t have that on-hand, you could go with 1/4 cup lemon juice}


It was delish and perfect for the warm summer months. This pasta would also be festive during the holidays, as well!

Enjoy! Happy Tuesday.


P.S. Linking up with Mel over at The Larson Lingo….get your summer salad swap on!

Summer Salad Swap

Tuscan Memories

While I was sitting waiting in the jury room exactly two weeks ago, I thumbed through LOTS of magazines. Magazines from 1986. The periodicals in the jury room are ancient. I reread of Brangelina’s twins births. How old are they now? If you have a room full of even semi-current magazines and don’t know what to do with them, may I suggest donating them to the Chatsworth Courthouse. Anywhoo, I came across a Pasta Fagioli recipe in a Family Circle and wanted to share it with you.

¬†This soup reminded me of a soup that Jay and I, along with a few friends, slurped on a cool early November afternoon in San Gimignano almost 9 years ago to the day. We were touring the fortress city on the last leg of our Italian vacation and took a break in a small restaurant and shared conversation over the most amazing, warm, regional bowl of loveliness. There is something about being so tired and hungry in a foreign country and appreciating the food like it’s your last meal.

This is a hearty, healthy holiday soup if there ever was such a thing.


Pasta Fagioli

2 tbsp EVOO

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with basil

2-14.5 ounce cans reduced sodium chicken broth

8 ounces {2 cups} small pasta shells

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 bunch fresh kale, discard tough stems and chop

2 cans small white beans, rinsed and drained {I used cannellini}

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Cook onions and garlic in olive oil. Stir in tomatoes, broth and 3 cups water. Simmer over high heat, add pasta and Italian seasoning. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in kale. Cook 5 minutes. Reduce to medium heat. Stir in beans, tomato paste and salt & pepper. Heat through. Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan cheese. Serve with a nice big chuck of crusty bread for dunking if you’re not worried about carbs!

I cannot wait to make this again. I may add a touch more water. The leftovers were a little thick, but still delish. If you’re worried or turned off by the kale {aka salad bar decor} you could certainly substitute spinach. I would have done that, but there has been several spinach recalls in these parts and the kale sounded healthier…it cooks up nicely and looks a lot like spinach anyway!


I love when a dish or meal brings back wonderful memories with wonderful friends.

What recipe does that for you?

Fantasy Friday

I want to go here:

Capri, Italy


How gorgeous is this?

{Google Images}

Strolling through these sidewalks wearing this:

{Michael Kors}

Smelling like this:


I could pack all my goodies in this:

{Kathy Van Zeeland}

Oh my, check this out….we could stay here:

{Google Images}

Can you believe this is a REAL place? Ahhhh, sipping on Limoncello and feasting on Mediterranean inspired dishes.

Per Orbitz, for a family of four to fly to Naples, Italy on Lufthansa would be over $1300 per person (economy). Then we could take a ferry to Capri…wonder what the going rate is for 5 nights at the hotel pictured above.

It’s fun to dream, isn’t it?

Here’s to a dreamy Friday!