Caprese Pasta Salad ….

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Cheese , tomatoes, and fresh basil makes this delicious quick & easy fresh Caprese Pasta Salad a great side dish for a BBQ and much healthier than the typical mayo- based macaroni salad. Or turn it into a light pasta dinner which can be ready in a short amount of time…

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Serves 6

Ingredients
2 cups chopped tomatoes, cut into cubes ( I Used cherry tomatoes)
1 cup diced cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes ( I used mozzarella )
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1tsp red pepper flakes
salt as per taste
Freshly ground black pepper as per taste
1 pound medium pasta shells or any Pasta of your Choice

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the tomatoes, cheese, oil, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes,1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, and black pepper to taste.
Cover and let it marinate at room temperature while you prepare the pasta, or for up to 3 hours in the refrigerator…

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon o salt and the pasta. Cook as directed on the package.
Once done drain the pasta in a a colander , reserving around 1/2 cup of the pasta water…
Add the pasta to the marinated tomato & cheese .

Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water, or as desired, to prepare the sauce.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature…..

NOTES
This salad will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. Leftovers taste great chilled or at room temperature. You can also reheat the pasta if you don’t mind the cheese melting…

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