Caprese Pasta Bake

Caprese pasta bake is a very simple dish the entire family will love! Ready in under 20 minutes, this recipe is so easy to throw together and whether you’re making it for lunch, a quick dinner, packed lunch or even a picnic, this basil and mozzarella pasta bake surely delivers. As you may have already gathered from the name, this pasta bake is based on Caprese salad, which is a simple classic Italian salad made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. A perfect pasta bake that will please vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Pasta is tossed with roasted tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and spinach and then baked to perfection with melted mozzarella cheese. This fresh and easy pasta recipe is a family favorite! It comes together really easily, and you’ll want to keep making it over and over again. Ready in just 30 minutes, including oven time, this dish makes the most of fresh summer tomatoes.

You can make the base of the dish while you boil the pasta — they should be ready at approximately the same time. I tried and liked this recipe from one of the fellow bloggers, I made a little changes as per my taste though. I like to share my favorite recipe with you all!

You only need a handful of ingredients to make this pasta:

Pasta — Any short pasta shape would work for this tomato and mozzarella pasta. I used shells, but penne, fussili or farfalle would also be great.

Cherry tomatoes —Cherry tomatoes are perfect for this pasta bake. I like to cut them in half, so they release their juices quicker. However, you can also roast the whole tomatoes in the oven, drizzled with a bit of olive oil.

Fresh basil — This is essential for anything Caprese and you should definitely don’t substitute it with dry basil.

Pesto — I use shop-bought pesto for this pasta but you can also make your own if you like.

Mozzarella — Any kind of mozzarella is great for this pasta bake, but I like to use small mozzarella balls because it is full of nice flavor and taste when baked.

If you’ve tried this Caprese Pasta Bake recipe or any other recipe on Siri’s Food Lab, then don’t forget to rate, like and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

How to make Caprese Pasta Bake

PREP TIME: 5 MINS

COOK TIME: 25 MINS

TOTAL TIME: 30 MINS

CUISINE: ITALIAN

COURSE: DINNER/LUNCH

SERVES: 2

Ingredients

  • pasta – 250 gms or 2&1/2 cups, uncooked
  • olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • garlic – 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • onion – 1, large, finely chopped
  • bell pepper – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
  • red chilly flakes – 1.5 tsp
  • cherry or grape tomatoes – 1.5 – 2 cups
  • pesto – 2 tbsp
  • oregano – 1 tbsp
  • black pepper – 1/2 tsp
  • salt – 1 tsp
  • fresh mozzarella ball – 1, 8 oz
  • spinach – 2 cups
  • fresh basil – 1/2 cup

Instructions

  1. Boil the pasta as recommended in the instructions on the package. Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the garlic and onions for 1-2 minutes over medium heat until softened.
  3. Add bell pepper and red chili flakes and cook for another 30 seconds.
  4. Preheat the oven at 200°C (395°F).
  5. Add the oregano and cherry tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes until they start to release their juices.
  6. Add in the cooked pasta to the pan. Toss it with the pesto, basil leaves, and baby spinach, then stir in half of the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper, and then top the pasta with the rest of the mozzarella.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the mozzarella is bubbling.

Tips

  1. If the sauce looks too dry, you can add a dash of pasta water. However, keep in mind that this is not a pasta dish that needs to be draining in liquid.
  2. Don’t wait till the mozzarella become crispy – it should be bubbly and soft. Keep an eye on your oven and take it out earlier if you notice the cheese is becoming golden.

Step by step photo instructions

  1. Boil the pasta as recommended in the instructions on the package. Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the garlic and onions for 1-2 minutes over medium heat until softened.

3. Add bell pepper and red chili flakes and cook for another 30 seconds.

4. Preheat the oven at 200°C (395°F).

5. Add the oregano and cherry tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes until they start to release their juices.

6. Add in the cooked pasta to the pan. Toss it with the pesto, basil leaves, and baby spinach, then stir in half of the mozzarella. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

7. Finally top the pasta with the rest of the mozzarella and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper.

8. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes or until the mozzarella is bubbling.

Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @sirisfoodlab

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