Creamy Caprese Pasta I

It’s Monday.

I know.


You probably don’t have a smile on your face. Maybe you woke up 35 minutes late and couldn’t wash your hair. Dumped hot coffee on your new white shirt? Couldn’t fit into your new white shirt? Or maybe you dropped your last allergy pill – the only thing that keeps you from scratching out your eyeballs in May – down the garbage disposal. Did you reach down there nearly sacrificing your hand, only to feel something slimy and scary in a desperate attempt to limit wheezing and snot and itchiness?


That only means one thing. Someone needs to stop disposing of lime wedges and chicken in the sink.

Creamy Caprese Pasta I

Mondays are for grown ups. Mondays are for people who wear suits and carry briefcases and use a shoe horn to put on their loafers and rinse with green Scope. In other words, Mondays are for my dad.

Creamy Caprese Pasta I

But I have some good news!

Monday just got a whole lot more tolerable. Monday just got cheesier and creamier. Monday just got so much better than online shoe shopping, self tanner searching, surviving on salad because you stuffed your face while weekending, and attempting to hold off on the snoring while you take a little desk snooze.

Creamy Caprese Pasta I

Shucks… I sort of like Monday now. But just today.

Creamy Caprese Pasta I

So – the pasta!

Am I gonna give it up or what? Chewy noodles swim in a light tomato cream sauce. Creamy chunks of fresh mozzarella hide in between pops of grape tomatoes and ribbons of basil, and melt into a gooey, bubbly binder that falls perfectly atop a slice of crusty, buttery garlic bread. It’s almost as perfect as a toasty French loaf topped with a homegrown tomato round, buffalo mozzarella circle, and a solitary silky basil leaf. But better.

Creamy Caprese Pasta I

Creamy Caprese Pasta

serves 4-6

1 pound whole wheat pasta (noodles such as penne work best)

1 cup of your favorite pasta/tomato sauce

1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes

1 pint of grape tomatoes (I cut some in half and left some whole)

1 bunch of fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil water and cook pasta according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat tomato sauce over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream and grated parmesan. Once pasta is done cooking, drain and dump into the sauce, mixing to coat and turning off heat. Fold in mozzarella cubes and tomatoes, then chop 3-4 fresh basil leaves and add them in too. Once combined, spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire pasta mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Top with additional fresh basil and grated cheese. Serve with garlic bread. You can also add in chicken, steak or seafood for some protein.

Creamy Caprese Pasta I

Take that Monday.

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258 Responses to “Creamy Caprese Pasta.”

  1. #
    Kim in MD — May 17, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    Oh my gosh, Jessica…this looks incredible! I’ve been MIA for a few days (I hosted a party for 40 people on Saturday)-boy have I missed alot! I can’t wait to catch up! :-)


    • Jessica — May 17th, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

      I’ve missed you Kim!


      • Kim in MD — May 17th, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

        I’ve missed you too, Jessica! You’ve been cooking up some delicious recipes-YUM! :-)

  2. #
    Lisa @ the Cooking Bride — May 17, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

    Just wanted to tell you the picture on Tastespotting was amazing!


  3. #
    kristina — May 17, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

    this is awesome! i just sat down with a nice big bowl…soo gooey and cheesy! i used 1/3 c ricotta cheese instead of half and half which was really nice! i definitely want to add chicken next time and see how much more magnificent it makes it! thanks :)


  4. #
    kaceyt — May 18, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

    made this for dinner last night! i only used 1/2 lb of pasta (to avoid having two weeks worth of leftovers) and the pasta to sauce ratio was perfect that way! the hubs even said he felt like we were eating at luigi’s (his FAVORITE restaurant)! thanks for another fantastic recipe.


  5. #
    sophistimom — May 18, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

    Ooh, yum. That’s what I want for lunch now.


  6. #
    Madison — May 19, 2011 @ 3:12 am

    I made this as soon as I saw it. I literally stumbled upon your blog, saw this, and decided to throw a mini dinner party for my girl friends, since most of us are home from college for the summer. I added some chicken to it (because I’m a strict carnivore!), and it was a HUGE hit! Thank you so much for the recipe; it really brought my friends and me together! Also, I made the Oreo cheesecake bars as well. I only got one tiny bar before they were all gobbled up. :(


  7. #
    Katie — May 19, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

    Mmmm… looks delicious! What tomato sauce did you use?


  8. #
    Sam — May 22, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

    Great recipe! I modified it with what I had on hand (added some roasted eggplant and peppers and used vodka sauce)….oh and I didn’t bake it. It was light and delicious! Thanks for the inspiration


  9. #
    Ashley — May 23, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

    H, Jessica! Love your blog & gorgeous pics! Would you mind telling me what pasta or tomato sauce you use? I can never seem to find a sauce in a jar that I enjoy…



    • Jessica — May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

      I’m not really a tomato sauce fan, but we like any from Trader Joe’s, especially the 3 cheese!


  10. #
    Dana — May 23, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

    I’ve never cooked anything in my life and this was the first meal I made in my new apartment. It was easy and delicious! Thank you so much, and I can’t wait to make more recipes from your blog!!


  11. #
    Maiah — May 23, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

    Made this tonight and it was incredible! I may have messed up the cheese and added a bit too much, but I also believe you can never have enough cheese :)

    Wrote about it briefly on my blog. While my photos are no contest to yours, I figured I’d pass on the link anyway

    Looking forward to more!


  12. #
    caroleena — May 24, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

    Oh. my. gosh.
    I JUST found your blog. (thank you!) I have just had a week that had to have been at LEAST a month long. My yesterday Monday was unending. It’s late afternoon & all I’ve had to eat today is a piece of burnt toast that no one else would eat. This pasta looks fantastic!!!! Thank you!


  13. #
    Christin — May 25, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    Wow, you have wonderful pictures and a great blog! I was curious if you would mind sharing with me the type of pasta sauce you are using in these pictures, it looks delicious! I live in Huntsville, Texas and my options here are limited but I will be in Houston this weekend and can stop by a Whole Foods or Central Market if necessary!! Thanks for the wonderful going to try this asap!


    • Jessica — May 25th, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

      Thanks Christin! I used rigatoni.


  14. #
    Carrie — May 26, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

    I just found your blog via Pinterest and now my keyboard if covered in drool!!!


  15. #
    Elena — May 30, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

    Its in the oven right now! I love how beautiful all the ingredients are together while making it, I almost went to grab my camera a couple of times. Can’t wait to devour it!!


  16. #
    Diana Lee — May 31, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

    My friend just shared the link to your beer marshmallows with me today, and I’m incredibly grateful because I didn’t know about your blog until then. I’m dying to try a bunch of your recipes, but I’m thinking I might be starting with this one. Yummy!


  17. #
    Barbara @ Barbara Bakes — June 3, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

    So glad I “Stumbled” on this recipe. I have everything I need to make it for dinner tomorrow night.


  18. #
    Brenda — June 6, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

    I made this tonight (a Monday!) I doubled the sauce and it came out great. I would have liked more cheese. I used 8 oz of mozzarella pearls and the parmesan. I also added some Italian sausage. It was great with garlic bread and a nice change from spaghetti. Thanks. As good as this was, I liked the buffalo chicken pasta better. :)


  19. #
    francine — June 23, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    i made this a month ago and just remembered to come back and thank you for your delicious recipe! (:


    • Jessica — June 23rd, 2011 @ 10:27 am

      Glad you liked it Francine!


  20. #
    Jeanette — June 26, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

    I made this about a month ago as well, and also forgot to give you my feed back.

    Num, num, num, very nice recipe. Thx. I used the 36 count Bocconcini instead of the cubed mozzarella and it worked out great.


  21. #
    Lilia Cortes — June 29, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    I hate Mondays too and this was the perfect dish for Monday blues!
    I didn’t have any cream on hand, but it’s okay, it was still delicious and good even as left overs for lunch the next day. Thanks for the recipe, so simple yet so delish!


  22. #
    Liz — June 30, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    I made this last night for my boyfriend and his family and it was such a huge hit!!! Thank you for the yummy recipe!


  23. #
    ChanelleG — July 2, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

    Very good :) I used a mixture of yellow and red cherry tomatoes, since it’s what I had on hand, and multi-colored “garden delight” penne. I may have also thrown in a handful of bacon crumbles ;) It was fantastic and super-simple! Thanks for sharing.


  24. #
    Annie — July 24, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

    We just had this tonight, holy cow it was SO DELICIOUS. Like one of the other commenters I made it with half the pasta and it worked out amazingly.


  25. #
    Kristen Hess — August 3, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

    Jess! This. looks. AMAZING. I stumbled upon this post from Foodgawker – how fun!


    • Jessica — August 3rd, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

      Thanks girl! :)


  26. #
    Ashley — August 11, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

    I just moved into my very own apartment and I thought this looked like the perfect first cooked meal…Alas, my oven was broken! But it still turned out delicious even without the baking! Thank you!


  27. #
    Anna jordal — August 29, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

    Wonderful! Keeping with the spirit of Caprese salad, I drizzles olive oil and put salt and pepper on the final product! Fabulous!


  28. #
    Brady — August 29, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

    This recipe was amazing! I made it for my parents and they said it was like something they would eat at a restaurant. Instead of buying sauce, I made my own. I have a garden full of tomatoes and basil. About 45 minutes of simmering, but so worth it! Since my parents are strict carnivores, I made meatballs as side-dish. Overall, it was the best dinner my family has had together in a long time. Never underestimate the power of a home-cooked meal and fabulous recipe! Thanks Jessica!


  29. #
    samantha — September 14, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

    this recipe seriously makes me drool! it looks SO amazing, i love grape tomatoes and fresh cheese that way! i can’t wait to make this, but do you have any suggestions of where i might be able to find fresh mozzarella prepared that way? not cut, ‘cos i’ll do that myself obviously, but where i could find it FRESH that way? it just doesn’t seem as though the local grocery store would be the best place. should i go to trader joe’s? where did you find all of these things?

    anyway, AMAZING recipe! i can’t wait to try it. thank you!
    – sam


  30. #
    JenH — September 19, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

    This pasta dish is sooooooo good! I make it all the time! Guests love it and its fairly simple to put together. I usually add spicy chicken sausage and its a great hit! Thank you for such an awesome recipe!


  31. #
    Jenny — September 20, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

    Hi! I am a new follower of yours and love your stuff! I made this last night and I must have done something horribly wrong…The pasta got “overcooked” after I baked it. I tasted it when I mixed it all together in the pan and it was *delicious* but then after cooking in the oven it got kinda soggy/mushy :( I blame it on my love/hate relationship w/ the kitchen ;)


  32. #
    kobe bryant — September 23, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

    made this tonight

    super awesome + easy



  33. #
    Kelly Blackwell — November 13, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing. I am definitely going to save this yummy recipe for when I am officially off of my diet.


  34. #
    Amy — November 15, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

    The first time I made this I followed the recipe as stated, plus some sausage. It was okay, but I knew it deserved another shot with some adjustments.
    I wasn’t a fan of the texture of the whole wheat noodles, and it also came out a bit dry from a lack of sauce and not enough cheese on top. The second time around I used regular penne noodles, doubled the tomato sauce to 2 cups (left cream at 1/3 C), cubed 8oz of cheese for inside the pasta, and used the remaining 8oz to cover the top. Also sliced, sauteed and added some Aidell’s Cajun Sausage to kick it up a notch. I think I chopped up more basil too.
    At any rate, the whole dish was finished off by my friends and I with no problems. It was a hit! Thank you thank you! This will be a good standby for parties and such. So many varieties possible!
    Has anyone tried this with a cream sauce like a vodka sauce or even alfredo? I’m curious. :)


  35. #
    Hannah@ Bake Five — December 29, 2011 @ 11:47 am

    I think I just caught a glimpse of heaven


  36. #
    Kelly — January 10, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

    This was the PERFECT dinner for my first day back at college. AMAZING! Thank you so much!


  37. #
    jessica ala — January 10, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

    So yummy! I made this with vodka sauce tonight and it was delish. I added the whole jar of sauce with the cream the recipe calls for. Very good will make again!


  38. #
    Tonya — January 24, 2012 @ 12:17 am

    Great recipe! Is it possible to make this dish ahead of time (say the morning of) and keep it in the fridge? Has anyone tried this?


    • Beth in OH — February 7th, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

      That’s the thing about pasta. You CAN prepare it ahead of time, then just pop it in the oven when you’re ready!


  39. #
    Beth in OH — February 7, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

    Oh gosh, I forgot to say that this recipe looks delish and the photos even better!


  40. #
    Marti — February 7, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    Although I try to stay away from cooking a lot of pasta’s THIS ONE sounds like one I cannot pass up.
    Look forward to making it.


  41. #
    Jessica — February 8, 2012 @ 12:04 am

    Made it tonight for dinner & it was great! My hubby is a sauce man so next time I’ll double sauce & add more basil. Thanks for the recipe!

    P.S. – I love your name!


  42. #
    Dawn powers — March 1, 2012 @ 9:03 am

    Made this and it was very yummy


  43. #
    Kristen — March 5, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    Tried this over the weekend and it tastes as amazing as it looks. Will definitely try over and over again. I added a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes to sauce, but other than that stuck to the recipe. It was simple to make, inexpensive and delicious. The 3 best things a recipe can offer. Thanks for sharing!


  44. #
    Weena — May 10, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    This pasta looks divine! Would you be willing to share your tomato sauce recipe? I’m always on a hunt for a good sauce recipe, and yours looks great!


  45. #
    Carol — May 10, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

    My daughter (I’m visiting her in CA) made this for us last night. It was the best pasta dish that I have ever had. I can’t wait to get home and make it for my husband.


  46. #
    Christina — May 25, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

    I made this tonight and it was incredible. My boyfriend actually makes a fantastic homemade tomato sauce, so we did that..then followed everything else as directed. VERY good and so simple. Thanks. :)


  47. #
    Lindsay — June 2, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

    This recipe is absolutely delicious!!! When I got to mix everything together, I wanted to bottle the smell! Now this has become one of my boyfriend’s favorite dishes! Thank you so much!


  48. #
    Meaghan Murphy — June 3, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

    This was wonderful! I made it for my roommates and we all loved it! I added a bit more sauce because I am a sauce freak, I cannot wait to make it again!! Thank you for this recipe!!


  49. #
    CindyC. — June 15, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

    I’m making this for our vegetarian friends tomorrow. I think I’ll add kalamata olives for a nice additional twist. Thanks for a great recipe!


  50. #
    Mandie — June 20, 2012 @ 3:34 pm




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