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Rigatoni Caprese Pasta

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A rigatoni caprese pasta loaded with fresh vegetables, fresh basil, and pearls of mozzarella cheese!

Some people think vegetarian dishes can’t possibly be filling and hearty. I used to think that way too.

However, when you have to start eating a certain way, you learn to make the best of it.

That includes adding tons of vegetables to your diet. Fortunately, Kim and I know how to cook.

The finished rigatoni caprese pasta in a saute pan.

In the past, our rigatoni caprese pasta used to include chicken. But, you can add different flavors to a dish to replace the meat.

For example, using a little chicken broth and balsamic vinegar will help you forget all about the missing protein. So, shall we get started?

A close-up view of the pasta dinner in a pan.

How to make rigatoni caprese from scratch?

First, you’ll need a saute pan with a tall rim. Once you have that, place it over low heat.

After that, when the pan is warm, pour in the oil and toss in the tomatoes.

Fresh tomatoes and oil in the pan.

Increase the heat slightly and let the tomatoes cook for about 6-minutes. Use a wooden spoon to crush the them.

At this point, while the tomatoes cook, prepare the rigatoni per the box instructions.

The crushed tomatoes have been cooked in oil.

It’s important to reserve about 1/4-cup of the pasta water for the caprese pasta. Just in case you need it.

Now, once the tomatoes have softened and blistered, add in the garlic, salt, and pepper.

Tomatoes, garlic, and other ingredients in the pan.

Allow the mixture to cook for about 1-minute. Then, pour in the vegetable (or chicken) broth.

Increase the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer for about 8-minutes. Remove it from the heat.

Broth has been added to the pan.

Last, toss the rigatoni noodles with the caprese sauce, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil. Sprinkle the pasta with mozzarella pearls.

If the dish is too dry for you, then consider adding the leftover pasta water.

That’s it, your rigatoni caprese pasta is done! Kim and I hope you enjoy it and wish you all the best 🙂

Cooked rigatoni noodles tossed with pasta sauce.

Recipe Tips and Notes:

  • For a vegetarian caprese pasta, use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.
  • Be aware that the flavors of the dish will intensify when stored in the fridge. Just something to keep in mind if you have leftovers.
  • The sauce is meant to be thin. For a saucier version, consider using canned crushed tomatoes in place of the fresh ones.
An aerial view of the pasta topped with fresh mozzarella.

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A close-up view of the pasta dinner in a pan.

Rigatoni Caprese Pasta

Yield: 12 Ounces
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Total Time: 34 minutes

A rigatoni caprese pasta loaded with fresh vegetables, fresh basil, and pearls of mozzarella cheese!

Ingredients

  • 8 Ounces Pasta, cooked and drained (reserve ¼ cup pasta water)
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Pint Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, minced or finely sliced
  • ¼ Cup Vegetable Broth (or chicken broth)
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, chiffonade
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 4 Ounces Mozzarella Pearls
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Heat a large skillet with tall sides over low heat. When the skillet is hot, add the olive oil and tomatoes. Adjust the heat slightly to low-medium, but not so high that the oil pops. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to soften and blister. Use a wooden spoon to press gently on the tomatoes and smash them flat. The soft insides will mix the olive oil. While the tomatoes soften, prepare the pasta.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, making sure to reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water, set aside.

After the tomatoes have softened and blistered, add the salt, pepper, and garlic. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute until the garlic becomes fragrant. Pour the broth, and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium and allow the mixture to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Remove from heat, and toss with the cooked pasta noodles, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil. If the noodles appear dry, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water. Add the mozzarella pearls last. Serve with additional fresh basil and mozzarella pearls if desired. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy hot or cold.

Notes

The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card. Actual calories will vary. Leftovers can be stored, in a sealed container, in your fridge for up to 3-days.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 374Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 428mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 3gSugar: 12gProtein: 13g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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