Pasta alla Caprese with Buffalo Mozzarella

…just a caprese salad with added pasta…
Ingredients for 4 servings

350 grams of pasta (such as penne, fusilli, or bowties)
4 or 5 medium-large round tomatoes
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1 small fresh red chili pepper
1 large buffalo mozzarella (about 300 grams/10-11 ounces)
fresh basil
dried oregano
olive oil


Make the salad while the pasta water boils. Chop the tomato into cubes and place the pieces in a colander (one with fairly large holes, not the fine mesh type). Dust the tomato pieces generously with salt, gently toss to get all the pieces covered, and let rest for 15 minutes (on a plate or over the sink, since liquid will be draining out from the tomato). Meanwhile, mince the garlic and chili pepper and cut the mozzarella into chunks roughly the size of the tomato cubes. Roughly chop 4 or 5 basil leaves.

Shake the tomatoes over the sink (while still in the colander) so that all the liquid expressed from the salting and most of the seeds drain through. Place the tomato, mozzarella, garlic, pepper, and basil in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and stir well. Cook the pasta al dente and when drained and slightly cooled add to the bowl of salad. Toss well and serve with a sprinkling of dried oregano and (optional) grated Parmesan cheese. Can also be served chilled, like a pasta salad.