Caprese Salad is probably the most famous export from the amazing Capri island off of Napoli, but I wanted to make a summer pasta salad instead that had the same main ingredients.
Perfect for a summer picnic or barbecue, Caprese Pasta Salad recipe is both colorful and flavorful. It’s best when served at room temperature, so you don’t have to worry about keeping it cold. This is also an excellent make-ahead dish, as leaving it in the fridge will allow the flavors to more fully meld. Although many of the ingredients in this recipe are canned, use fresh green beans for the best texture and flavor. Frozen green beans will work in a pinch, but canned will be too soggy.
Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 pound Cellentani Pasta
- 2 4-oz cans Italian tuna packed in oil, drained
- 8 oz sliced ham diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 12 oz package heirloom cherry tomatoes halved
- 8 oz provolone cheese diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano freshly grated
- 1 12-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts
- 1 12-oz jar fire roasted bell peppers diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 pound fresh green beans blanched and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 carrot blanched and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook for 2 minutes less than the cooking time on the package. Drain the pasta, coat it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, toss, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to let cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and whisk together. Adjust the salt if necessary and set aside.
- In a very large bowl, mix the bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, provolone, artichoke hearts, ham, green beans, and carrots. Add the vinaigrette, cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate for 10 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Before serving, remove from the refrigerator for 1 hour to bring to room temperature. Toss all of the ingredients together and serve.
A Few Tips to Make the Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- Don’t cook the pasta for too long: Especially if you don’t use an imported Italian pasta. Pasta can overcook very easily if it’s not of great quality. Extra tips: shock the pasta in cold water once cooked for best results.
- Dice the veggies small: Dicing your vegetables into smaller cubes than normal will allow to get a taste of everything in your mouth.
- Keep your pasta salad in the fridge: Keeping your pasta salad in the fridge before serving it will make sure all the ingredients are at the same cold temperature and it will result in a more delicious and flavorful dish!
- Use your creativity: You can easily add new ingredients and a different dressing. Just make sure to mix everything together well and let it rest in the fridge before serving your Italian pasta salad!
The island cuisine uses what is fresh and grown or caught in the area—tomatoes, fresh fish, fresh herbs and olive oil are staples of most Caprese recipes. This is a great dish to make for the summer, because it only takes a few minutes and it can be transported to the beach or any of your summer parties, and everyone will love it!
Serve it fresh accompanied with homemade garlic bread.