My favorite Italian salad is Caprese. The mixture of all the flavors from the tomato, fresh mozzarella and a favorite herb of mine, basil is a burst of happiness. I came across this recipe and added my own twist. It is a perfect side to any grilled meat. Mmmmm mmmmm Good!!
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice **side note...I would not use this amount...it was quite lemony**
1 shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
2 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes,(I did not use the mixed...my kids don' like the yellow tomatoes) cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound pasta, such as campanelle, penne or fusilli
12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces **I salted and peppered the cheese and let it sit for a few minutes before adding it to the pasta**
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add sugar. Add the tomatoes and gently toss. Let sit at room temperature, about 15 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Drain 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.