The salad that originated in Capri is a classic and in this pasta bake I use the same ingredients. It is lightly baked and then before it is served, I top it again with more of the same fresh ingredients.

Baked Pasta Caprese with Fresh Mozzarella Balls
Baked Pasta Caprese

You will need:

500g Pasta shapes of your choice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
200g chopped canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
a pinch of dried basil
a pinch of dried oregano
1/2 glass white wine
3 tablespoons grated mozzarella

Cook the pasta shells according to the instructions on the packet but reduce 2 minutes cooking time as the cooking process will carry on in the oven.

Prepare a simple tomato sauce by gently cooking the garlic in olive oil.

Do not allow it to brown and add the canned tomatoes and carry on cooking on a gently heat.

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As soon as it reaches boiling point add the wine and reduce the heat.

Stir and add the tomato puree and dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste.

Cook for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Mix the sauce with the cooked pasta shells. Prepare an oven proof dish with baking spray.

Place the pasta and sauce in the dish and sprinkle the grated mozzarella on top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest before adding the rest of the ingredients.

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After baking and just before serving:
150g cherry tomatoes, halved or sliced
250g fresh mozzarella balls
A spoonful of fresh basil, chopped and a few extra leaves 
a few  rocket leaves
a pinch of dried oregano and dried basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste and salt if required
a few drops apple vinegar to drizzle

Scatter the rest of the ingredients on the surface and serve immediately.

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I use fresh mozzarella pearls and grated mozzarella by Fior Di Vita available at
Quality Foods Marketing
Fresh vegetables and herbs by Big Fresh and kitchenware by Tescoma
Photos: Felix Cesare
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