The first time I made this pasta, I was a little underwhelmed. It was good, but not great. While I love pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella and chickpeas, there was something that just wasn't doing it for me. However, I was not willing to give up on this recipe so easily. It had all the potential to be something fantastic, just clearly needed a little tweaking.
First, I decided to marinate the tomatoes and mozzarella in the vinaigrette while I cooked the pasta. I also added some garlic for good measure. It then became obvious. While thyme may offer a unique flavor, it was just not right in this dish. What goes best with tomatoes and mozzarella is...basil! Nothing beats classic caprese-inspired flavors.
As I hoped, with just a few changes, this dish became something extraordinary. It was simple, delicious and very easy to make. We enjoyed this pasta warm as an entree, but it would also be excellent served as a pasta salad. This quick and easy pasta has definitely landed a spot in our weeknight dinner rotation!
Pasta with Grape Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Yields 4 to 6 servings
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed12 ounces pasta (any shape short pasta, any flavor; I used whole wheat & flax rotini)
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Coarse salt and ground pepper
- In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic and basil. Add tomatoes and mozzarella and toss until combined. Set aside.
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Add chickpeas to pot for the last 2 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain pasta mixture and return to pot.
- Add tomato mixture to pasta. Toss, adding reserved pasta water a little at a time to create a thin sauce to coat the pasta (you may not need all of the water).
- Season with salt and pepper, as desired and toss to combined. Serve, garnished with basil leaves, if desired.
Adapted from Everyday Food