Chef and cookbook author Danny Freeman understands the challenges of getting a healthy meal on the table quickly for a hungry family. He frequently makes this caprese sauce, from his latest cookbook Danny Loves Pasta, which came out earlier this year, to serve over pasta or with veggies.
Serves 4 to 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
I grew up in a family of beachgoers. Nearly every summer, we’d pile into the car and drive to the Jersey Shore, where we’d spend all day building sandcastles and playing in the waves. After long days of sun and sand, my dad would go into the kitchen to whip up a big platter of antipasta. There were always meats and cheeses, artichoke hearts and a plate of caprese salad—a simple combination of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, lightly seasoned and drizzled with olive oil. This combination just screams summer to me. I’ve tried to recreate those flavors here, with a simple sauce that really lets the ingredients shine.
1 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ pounds plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more for the pasta water
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 pound pasta of choice
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
¼ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.
- To make the balsamic glaze, bring the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Lower the heat to medium-low and let simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a heat-safe cup or bowl and place it in the refrigerator to allow it to thicken. [On busy weeknights, Freeman likes Berio Balsamic Glaze]
- Combine the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil in a large bowl. Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Add the pasta and toss to combine.
- Serve with balsamic glaze drizzled on top.
Danny Loves Pasta$29.99