• 5 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspn balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb penne or ziti pasta
  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella cheese (cut into small cubes)
  • about 15 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded,
  • plus several sprigs

  • Peel and see the tomatoes, then cut them into small dice. Drain the diced tomatoes in a colander for about 15 minutes to remove excess liquid.
  • In a bowl, combine the drained tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and the cayanne. Toss and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes to develop flavor.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the water, add the pasta, and cook until al dente (about 10-12 minutes).
  • Drain the pasta and put it in a warmed large, shallow bowl. Add the tomato mixture and toss. And the mozzarella and basil shreds and toss gently. The heat from the pasta will start to melt the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with basil sprigs and serve at once.