Caprese Pasta Salad

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This is my favorite way to make a quick pasta salad. The original recipe is from an old issue of Real Simple, but it's pretty uh, simple to make that you sorta just make it up along the way.  Rather than a formal recipe this is just a guideline of how to make it, no exact measurements needed! For example, if you love tomatoes then add more, etc.

Caprese Pasta Salad You will need: - a few garlic cloves, minced - fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped - small tomatoes such as cherry or grape or mini heirloom, cut in half - pasta (such as penne or farfalle, or make your own!) - fresh mozzarella (bocconcini) - salt and pepper - olive oil

Directions: 1. Cook your pasta according to package directions, or use your freshly made pasta ;)  Make sure you salt your water well!  You want it salty like the ocean, that way your pasta picks up the flavor rather than adding lots of salt later. 2. Reserve a cup of your pasta water, then strain and set aside. Using the same pot (less dishes to wash!), add a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium to low heat, then throw in the garlic. Add your chopped tomatoes and mix together.  Let the tomatoes cook a little (less than a minute) to release their juices and then pour in about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of your pasta water. This will make a very light/thin sauce for your pasta salad. 3. Let your tomatoes cook a little bit more, maybe a minute or two. You don't want them to cook too much or else things will start getting a little too soggy/saucy, and you want this to be just a light coating. Add more pasta water or olive oil to your liking, then mix in some pepper (and salt if necessary) to taste. 4. Turn off the flame, then add your pasta back into the pot. Add basil leaves and toss together, making sure that everything gets coated.  Add in your fresh mozzarella last so it doesn't get melty. 5. Plate, then add a little more basil and pepper for garnish.