Monday, 30 July 2012

Tomato, basil and mozzarella pasta

Red, white and green, the Italian flag (and coincidentally, the colours of Y Ddraig Goch, the Welsh Dragon) on a plate. Yes, it's another dish based on my favourite Italian trinity of mozzarella, tomato and basil (for other recipes featuring these flavours have a look at Insalata Caprese and Baked pasta with mozzarella and tomatoes). I make no apology for this, I happen to think that the combination is simply perfect for the warmer summer weather.

The recipe below is for a standard, hot pasta dish. However, Italians often prepare this as a cold pasta salad in the hot summer months. If you want to try it like that, cook the pasta until just al dente, then drain it and refresh in cold water. Then simply toss the other ingredients with the pasta, without cooking them, omitting the onion and dressing with a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil.

As there's still time (just!), I'm sending this over to Laura (this month's host) at and Nazima of  Working London Mummy for the July One Ingredient challenge - Tomatoes.

RECIPE - serves 3-4

350g pasta (any 'short' kind, I used fusilli)
7-8 large tomatoes
125g ball mozzarella
half a small onion or 1 shallot
extra virgin olive oil
handful fresh basil

Chop the onion or shallot very finely. In a frying pan, heat enough olive oil to cover the base and add the onion/shallot. Cook gently until very soft, about 10-15 minutes. 

While the onion is sweating, prepare the tomatoes. First, you have to peel them, not a particularly pleasant job but worth doing for this dish. The easiest way is to score a small cross in the skin of the base of the tomatoes. Place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave for a minute, then place the tomatoes in cold water and peel off the skin. After peeling, roughly chop.

Chop the mozzarella into small dice.

In the meantime, cook the pasta in lots of boiling salted water. When the pasta is almost ready, add the tomatoes to the softened onion and cook for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper. 
When the pasta is al dente, remove from the heat, drain well and toss with the tomatoes and onions and the fresh basil, roughly torn. Just before serving, scatter the diced mozzarella over the pasta and gently mix it in, drizzling over a little more olive oil.
NB: Don't be tempted to mix the mozzarella in any earlier because it starts to melt as soon as it hits the heat and instead of it being evenly distributed through the pasta, you end up with a mass of melted mozzarella that won't mix in! I speak from experience...


  1. Hi Katherine, sorry you must have added in after I had written the post. Will amend now. Looks delicious thanks for entering one Ingredient. I love all of these flavours very much :))x

    1. Oops sorry if I was late! Thanks for adding me in!

  2. Hi! This pasta recipe is one of my favourites. Have you seen the welsh Italian lady with pasta show on channel 4? X

    1. Thanks Nazima - I missed the first programme but will certainly try to catch it next week!