Caprese Pasta & Chicken Salad
This dish must have been created for the summertime! I find it is the perfect meal when it’s scalding outside, and it’s ridiculously easy to throw together! The last thing I want to do at the end of a sweltering and busy day is to come home and eat a hot meal. This wholesome and delicious, meal in a bowl may be prepared ahead of time and can be served right out of the refrigerator. I do however recommend leaving the tomatoes whole if you make more than 24 hours in advance. Also, allow the dish to sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes or so before serving. The flavor of cheese becomes more enhanced as it comes to room temperature. This recipe is easily doubled for larger crowds. This makes it a quick and easy go-to dish serve at your next party or to contribute at a Pot Luck!
- 12 oz. box of Farfalle (bow-tie shaped) pasta
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
- 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or pick up a fully cooked chicken from the deli, to save time)
- 3 Tablespoons of Basil Pesto (already prepared in the jar)
- 8 oz. of Fresh Mozzarella cut into cubes or fresh mozzarella pearls if your grocer carries them, again a time saver
- 7-8 Fresh Basil leaves chopped up for garnish
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Poach the chicken by boiling in salted water 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool. When it is cool enough to handle cut into bite size piece. Time saver – buy an already cooked chicken.
- Cook pasta al dente’ according to directions on the box, careful not to over cook this makes the pasta mushy.
- Slice tomatoes in half, and cut up the cheese into small cubes. If you can find the pearls go with them, less preparation time and makes for a better presentation of the dish.
- Drain pasta well and transfer to a large serving bowl.
- While the pasta is still warm add the pesto, toss so that all of the pasta is coated, and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once to room temp. add the chicken, cheese and tomatoes & gently toss.
- Season with salt and pepper if desired, the pesto usually adds enough salt.
- Slice the basil and garnish just before serving to prevents wilting and discoloration.
- Red pepper flakes are a great way to spice it up a bit.