Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Easy Breezy Pasta Caprese

For those who do not know me, I'm probably about 80% Italian. My father's parents immigrated to the US from Italy, him and his cousins are all first generation American. My maternal grandfather is also Italian. Christmas Eve is spent at a long table of loud relatives with huge platters of food and my dad's aunt continuously yelling "Mangia!"

While I do love my Aunt Silvana's ziti, I'm honestly not the biggest pasta fan. Maybe this came from eating it at least once a week growing up? If I do eat pasta it has to have pizzazz. Lots of veggies, maybe some meat, cheese and something other than Ragu. I believe that if you're eating pasta--it shouldn't actually be the main ingredient. Not only because I don't care for it all too much because the nutrition facts just don't lie...carb and calorie overload!

Though not a pasta fan I have become a huge spaghetti squash fan, and have been changing up typical pasta dishes using the delicious substitute. While I've been scouring over recipes I decided to come up with something myself. Also not being a huge sauce fan, caprese pasta is one of my favorite as it's simple and light but has a lot of flavor...so I set out to make my own!
Anna's Easy Breezy Pasta Caprese
Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash (average size)
1 green (or color of your preference) bell pepper
1 medium onion
10 cherry or grape tomatoes (or cut a medium tomato into bite size chunks)
3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 basil leaf (or more if you desire)
Preparation
First task is to cook the spaghetti squash. There are several methods to do so, while I prefer the oven method  throwing it in the microwave definitely speeds up the prep time. Once your squash is cooked scoop it out into a big serving bowl.

Turn a skillet to medium high heat and once it's hot coat with a cooking spray. Meanwhile slice the bell pepper and onion. I left mine in longer thin slices but feel free to cut to your liking. Throw the chopped veggies into the pan and cook down until they're tender but not falling apart soft.

Cut cherry/grape tomatoes in half. Take your basil leaf and roll lengthwise, then slice for small strips of the herb. Thrown the tomatoes into the skillet for the last three minutes of cooking the veggies then remove from heat.
Add veggies into the bowl with spaghetti squash. Then add basil, mozzarella and olive oil. Toss all of the ingredients until they're evenly distributed, serve it up and enjoy!

Servings
Depending on the size of your squash and how many veggies you add this could vary. I split mine into three servings. A serving size of the mozzarella is a 1/4 of cup so if you're splitting four ways use a whole cup so no one get skimped on the cheese please!

Additions
Don't like peppers or onions? Then don't add 'em! They're some of my favorite veggies but feel free to throw whatever you want into the mix. Mushrooms and black olives could also be yummy in this dish. Try mixing with some lite Italian dressing instead of the EVOO. Serve it chilled like a pasta salad. Substitute fresh mozzarella...mmm! The possibilities are endless, however the most important suggestion is to serve with a glass of wine...
Planning to make this dish? Leave a comment and let me know how it goes for you!

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