I try to make this recipe (which I found years ago in a Cook’s Illustrated magazine) every summer when tomatoes are in peak season. Inspired by the classic caprese salad, this pasta uses just a few ingredients that depends on high quality ingredients – ripe tomatoes, great olive oil, and fresh buffalo mozzarella.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 - 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, more if needed depending on tomatoes
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 small shallot, minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
Salt and ground black pepper
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
12 ounces fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound penne pasta or other short tubular or curly pasta such as fusilli or campanelle
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon sugar, if needed, depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes
1. Whisk oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella and gently toss to combine; set aside. Do not marinate for longer than 45 minutes.
2. While tomatoes are marinating, bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain well.
3. Add pasta to tomato and mozzarella mixture and gently toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or sugar, if desired, and serve immediately.