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Indulge in our single serving Caprese pasta, bursting with fresh tomatoes, aromatic garlic, creamy mozzarella, and vibrant basil. Quick and satisfying!

Craving a vibrant, flavorful dish that’s simple yet completely satisfying? Look no further than our single serving Caprese Pasta recipe. Picture this: juicy fresh tomatoes, a tantalizing hint of aromatic garlic, cubes of creamy mozzarella, and a sprinkle of fresh, fragrant basil. All of these ingredients combine to create a symphony of flavors that dances on your palate. It’s a perfect recipe for a quick lunch, dinner, or even a spontaneous snack. This charming combination of fresh ingredients will have you rushing to the kitchen to start cooking immediately.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Simplicity: This recipe is beginner-friendly, requiring minimal ingredients and steps. Even if you’re new to the kitchen, you’ll find it a breeze to prepare.
  • Flavorful: Despite its simplicity, this dish doesn’t compromise on flavor. The harmony of hearty pasta, juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and aromatic basil creates a satisfying meal.
  • Adaptable: This recipe can easily be modified to suit various dietary preferences. Whether you prefer whole wheat pasta or a vegan cheese alternative, it’s flexible to your needs.
  • Quick: Ideal for those busy days or when you’re not in the mood for elaborate cooking. You’ll have a delicious meal ready in no time.
  • Recipe doubles well: This recipe yields one generous bowl of the best Caprese pasta! If you’d like to make a second bowl, just double the ingredient amounts.

What Is Caprese Pasta?

Caprese pasta is a delicious fusion of a classic Caprese salad and your favorite type of pasta. The Caprese salad, which contains fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil hails from Capri, a beautiful island in Italy’s Bay of Naples. The vibrant colors of this dish pay homage to the Italian flag, symbolizing the essence of Italian cuisine. Integrating this salad with pasta results in our Caprese pasta. This combination of hearty pasta, juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and aromatic basil is an embodiment of Italian culinary tradition, translated into a convenient single-serving recipe.

a bowl of angel hair pasta mixed with mozzarella cheese, fresh chopped tomatoes, and fresh torn basil.

Ingredients

caprese pasta ingredients on a kitchen counter.

Ingredient Notes And Substitutions

See below for ways to use leftover ingredients.

  • Pasta: Any pasta shape works well in this recipe. I love to use angel hair pasta when I make Caprese pasta. As a general rule, 2 ounces of dry pasta (57g) is a good amount for one serving. A 2 ounce serving of angel hair pasta measures 2 1/8 inch circumference. This amount yields 1 cup of cooked angel hair pasta. Use whole wheat pasta for a healthier option or gluten-free pasta if you have a gluten intolerance.
  • Tomatoes: I find that 2 ripe Roma tomatoes are the ideal amount to use in this recipe. Instead, you can use sweet cherry tomatoes which may be more convenient to use because of their size or you can substitute them with sun-dried tomatoes for a deeper, more concentrated flavor.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic brings a lot of flavor to this dish. Because I love garlic, I use 2 cloves. Feel free to reduce it to one if preferred.
  • Olive oil: I use extra virgin olive oil in this Caprese pasta recipe and in every other recipe on One Dish Kitchen that calls for olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed form of olive oil. It is an unrefined oil and the highest-quality olive oil you can buy. Because of the way extra virgin olive oil is made, it retains a more true olive taste. It also contains more of the vitamins and minerals found in olives. It’s my favorite type of olive oil, but you may use light olive oil instead.
  • Mozzarella cheese: Fresh mozzarella is used in this recipe, but feel free to swap it out for a vegan cheese alternative if you’re dairy-free.
  • Italian seasoning: The main herbs in Italian seasoning are basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. If you don’t have Italian seasoning, use one or two of these herbs instead.
  • Basil: Fresh basil is best for its vibrant flavor and aroma.
  • Parmesan cheese: I recommend using freshly grated cheese.

This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why I used them. For the full recipe please scroll down to the recipe box at the bottom of the post.

How To Make Caprese Pasta

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to make Caprese pasta. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente – tender, yet firm. Drain and set the pasta aside.

Pro Tip: Adding salt to boiling water during pasta cooking is a simple step that significantly enhances the dish’s flavor. As pasta tends to have a rather bland taste, the addition of salt to the cooking water allows the pasta to absorb it, resulting in a more savory flavor. This process effectively enhances the subtle taste of the pasta.

pasta cooking in a small pot on the stove.
  1. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and Italian seasoning and cook, stirring frequently for 30 seconds.
garlic cooking with Italian seasoning and olive oil in a skillet.
  1. Add the chopped tomatoes and salt and sauté, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.

Pro Tip: Sautéeing chopped tomatoes in olive oil helps the tomatoes to release their natural sugars and juices which enhances their sweetness and overall flavor. It also makes them softer, helps to concentrate their flavor, and reduces their acidity.

chopped tomatoes and garlic sauteeing in a skillet with olive oil.
  1. Add the cooked pasta and toss.
cooked spaghetti mixed with tomatoes and garlic in a skillet.
  1. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese and toss to combine.
spaghetti tossed with fresh basil, cubes of mozzarella cheese and chopped tomatoes in a skillet.
  1. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!
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Expert Tips

  • Sauté your garlic: For a richer flavor, be sure to sauté your garlic in olive oil before adding it to the dish. This helps to release the flavors and reduce the rawness of the garlic.
  • Don’t overcook your pasta: Aim for al dente pasta, which should still have a slight bite to it. Overcooked pasta can become mushy.
  • Freshness is key: The fresher the tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella, the better. This dish is all about showcasing these fresh ingredients.
  • Salt your pasta water: Adding salt to your pasta water can significantly enhance the flavor of your pasta. It’s a simple step that makes a big difference.
  • Drain, don’t rinse: After cooking your pasta, drain it but do not rinse it. The starch that clings to the pasta will help the ingredients adhere better.
  • Use quality olive oil: Since this recipe has so few ingredients, the quality of each one counts. Using good quality olive oil can significantly enhance the flavor of your dish.
  • Serve immediately: For the best taste and texture, serve your Caprese pasta immediately after preparation. The warm pasta will help melt the mozzarella slightly, creating a delightful creaminess.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Caprese Pasta Ahead Of Time?

This dish is best served fresh, but if necessary, it can be made ahead and refrigerated. Warm it up gently before serving.

Can I Add Protein?

Absolutely! Grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu can be a great addition.

What Other Vegetables Can I Add To Caprese Pasta?

While Caprese pasta is traditionally made with tomatoes, you can certainly add other vegetables like spinach, bell peppers, or zucchini for added nutrients and flavor.

How Can I Make Caprese Pasta Creamy?

You could add a splash of cream or a spoonful of cream cheese to your pasta right before serving to make it creamy. Remember to heat it gently to prevent the dairy from curdling.

Is Caprese Pasta Vegan?

Traditional Caprese Pasta isn’t vegan due to the mozzarella cheese. However, you can easily make it vegan by replacing the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses with vegan cheese alternatives.

How Can I Make Caprese Pasta Gluten-Free?

You can make this dish gluten-free by using a gluten-free pasta. There are many great options available in the market today, such as rice, corn, or quinoa pasta.

a fork filled with caprese pasta over the bowl.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this delightful Caprese pasta with a slice of crusty bread and a glass of your favorite wine. For a more substantial meal, consider a side salad or roasted vegetables. Enjoy the simplicity and freshness of this delightful, single-serving dish.

Recipe Variations

Caprese pasta is a classic dish that can be varied in numerous ways to suit different palates and dietary needs. Here are four variations you might consider:

  1. Caprese Pasta Salad: This is a cool, refreshing variation perfect for warm weather or as a side dish. Simply toss cooked and cooled pasta with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves. Dress it with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  2. Chicken Caprese Pasta: Add a protein punch to your Caprese pasta by including grilled or sauteed chicken breast. You can season the chicken with Italian herbs for additional flavor. This turns your pasta dish into a more filling meal that’s perfect for dinner.
  3. Caprese Pasta Bake: This is a warm, comforting variation. Mix your cooked pasta, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella in a baking dish, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake until it’s bubbly and golden brown. It’s a great way to get that melty, cheesy goodness we all love.
  4. Vegan Caprese Pasta: For those on a plant-based diet, use a vegan mozzarella cheese substitute and a vegan pasta. You could also add some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor boost. Toss with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and a good quality olive oil.

Remember, the key to a good caprese pasta in any form is to use fresh, high-quality ingredients wherever possible. Fresh mozzarella and ripe tomatoes can make a big difference, as can a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.

For more information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried this Caprese pasta or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

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Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Caprese Pasta For One

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Indulge in our single-serving Caprese pasta, bursting with fresh tomatoes, aromatic garlic, creamy mozzarella, and vibrant basil. Quick and satisfying!

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 ounces angel hair pasta (A 2 ounce serving of angel hair pasta measures 2 ⅛ inch circumference. This amount yields 1 cup of cooked angel hair pasta.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil , divided
  • 2 cloves garlic , chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 ripe Roma tomatoes , chopped
  • teaspoon salt , plus more for salting the pasta water
  • 1 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese , cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions 

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente – tender, yet firm. Drain and set the pasta aside.
    Pro Tip: I add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the water. Adding salt to the water when cooking pasta helps to enhance the flavor of the pasta. By adding it to the boiling water, the pasta absorbs the salt, leading to a more savory taste. 
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and Italian seasoning and cook, stirring frequently for 30 seconds.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and ⅛ teaspoon of salt and sauté, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.
  • Add the cooked pasta and toss.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese and toss to combine.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Sauté your garlic: For a richer flavor, be sure to sauté your garlic in olive oil before adding it to the dish. This helps to release the flavors and reduce the rawness of the garlic.
  • Don’t overcook your pasta: Aim for al dente pasta, which should still have a slight bite to it. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and may not hold the sauce as well.
  • Freshness is key: The fresher the tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella, the better. This dish is all about showcasing these fresh ingredients.
  • Salt your pasta water: Adding salt to your pasta water can significantly enhance the flavor of your pasta. It’s a simple step that makes a big difference.
  • Drain, don’t rinse: After cooking your pasta, drain it but do not rinse it. The starch that clings to the pasta will help the ingredients adhere better.
  • Use quality olive oil: Since this recipe has so few ingredients, the quality of each one counts. Using good quality olive oil can significantly enhance the flavor of your dish.
  • Serve immediately: For the best taste and texture, serve your Caprese pasta immediately after preparation. The warm pasta will help melt the mozzarella slightly, creating a delightful creaminess.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 591kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 37g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 23g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 615mg, Potassium: 191mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 295IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 255mg, Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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