Oh my.... this is one of the yummiest things you'll ever put in your mouth. Seriously, I could eat it every single day. It's so simple to make and requires very little skill, so there's no reason not to try it. Here's how.
First, you'll need a pound of cooked, rinsed, and drained pasta (cold). Here I'm using elbows, but any fun shape will do. I put the prepared pasta in a big bowl and start building the salad like this:
I start by chopping really ripe tomatoes, lots of them. The better the tomatoes, the better this salad will be, so use really good ones. I chop about 1/2 lb for 1 lb. of pasta.
I especially like Campari tomatoes. The next really important ingredient is fresh mozzarella. It's really, really, really worth it to buy the fresh stuff. You'll need about 1/2 pound, diced.
Of course you're going to need fresh basil - it's the star of the show here, so the more the better! Use as much as you like. I honestly don't think you can add too much.
You'll also need a little vinaigrette - my favorites are light champagne vinaigrette and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, but feel free to use your favorite. I use about 1/4 cup - just enough to lightly wet all the ingredients.
Stir it all together and season with salt and pepper (heavy on the pepper). Check the saltiness of your mozzarella first - brands differ greatly.
Caprese Pasta Salad
1 pound elbow pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled
1/2 pound diced ripe tomatoes
1/2 pound diced fresh mozzarella
1/4 cup of your favorite vinaigrette
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
Gently toss ingredients together and serve. Refrigerate leftovers.
Use a serrated knife to easily cut both the tomatoes and the fresh mozzarella.