Warm Pasta Caprese with Maccheroni al Torchio

Warm Pasta Caprese with Maccheroni al Torchio

Made with the typical Caprese salad ingredients of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, this warm pasta Caprese is a delicious Italian summer classic!

Warm Pasta Caprese with Torchio pasta

Caprese Salad is a typical summer salad from Campania in Southern Italy. It consists of tomatoes and mozzarella cut into slices and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil and sometimes oregano or anchovies. Despite the simplicity of this dish, it’s probably one of the most popular and well-known Italian recipes.

Warm Pasta Caprese with Torchio pasta

The origins of Caprese Salad

Like many other traditional Italian recipes, there are a number of different stories about the invention of Caprese salad. The most popular of which dates back to 1920. Caprese salad is said to have appeared for the first time on the menu of the very famous Hotel Quisisana in Capri. This menu was created for a dinner organized for the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the founder of the Futurist movement.

ingredients for warm pasta Caprese with torchio pasta

Apparently, Marinetti had criticized traditional Neapolitan cuisine as being too full of fatty and fried foods. In an effort to change Marinetti’s view on Neapolitan food, the hotel chef included ‘L’Insalata Caprese’ on the dinner menu.  This dish, which some believe was originally invented by a patriotic builder, was a resounding success!

halved cherry tomatoes with basil in a white bowl

From that moment on Caprese salad became a legend on Capri and later a gastronomic symbol of Campania and all of Italy. The fact that the salad’s ingredients are red, white and green (the colours of the Italian flag) helped to make it so popular.

cherry tomato halves with basil and garlic in frying pan

Traditional ingredients

Tomatoes and mozzarella are also very traditional ingredients in both pasta and pizza recipes from Southern Italy. So, the idea of serving pasta with the same ingredients as Caprese salad soon became very popular too. Pasta Caprese, or as the Italians call it ‘alla Caprese’, is served and eaten both as a pasta salad with raw tomatoes and herbs or as a warm pasta dish with cooked tomatoes. You can also make a baked version, although this is generally called ‘alla Sorrentina’.

fresh mozzarella pieces in white bowl with basil

Making this warm pasta Caprese

Like many other simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients is important for warm pasta Caprese. Italians often use mozzarella di Bufala, but you can use other types. However, it needs to be fresh and a little soft but not watery. Good ripe tomatoes are important too. I used cherry tomatoes and kept the skins on. Some people use sauce tomatoes such as San Marzano and peel them. Fresh basil and good quality olive oil are also essential to get the best and tastiest result.

torchio pasta and cherry tomato sauce in frying pan

This pasta Caprese recipe involves cooking the tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano, but only  for a short time. The mozzarella is added at the end after mixing the cooked pasta and tomatoes together. The heat from the pasta and sauce melts the mozzarella slightly but normally without making it too stringy!

Warm Pasta Caprese with Torchio pasta

The tomato sauce for warm pasta Caprese can be made in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta. So, this is a very quick and easy dish to make. It’s perfect for light meals. I make it quite a lot in summer. If you have never tried it, I recommend you do. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as the Italians do!

Warm Pasta Caprese with Torchio pasta

If you make this warm pasta caprese recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. Please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Buon appetito!

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warm pasta caprese

5 from 9 votes
Warm Pasta Caprese with Torchio pasta
Warm Pasta Caprese
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Made with the typical Caprese salad ingredients of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, this warm pasta Caprese is a delicious Italian summer classic! 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Southern Italian
Keyword: caprese, Italian food, mozzarella and tomatoes, pasta recipe, summer pasta
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
  • 400 g torchio pasta or other short pasta 14 oz ( I used maccheroni al torchio from Andalini)
  • 300 g cherry tomatoes 10 oz (washed and cut in half)
  • 200 g fresh mozzarella 7oz (the best is mozzarella di Bufala)
  • 5 basil leaves washed
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1-2 tsp oregano
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 30 g Parmesan 1oz - grated (optional)
Make the sauce
  1. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan or skillet, add the garlic and after it starts to soften, add the tomatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste and some of the oregano and fresh basil. Cook for another 5 minutes or so until the tomatoes have softened. Remove the garlic clove

Cook the pasta
  1. While the sauce is cooking put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet.

Finish the dish
  1. When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the pan with the tomato sauce. Mix together well and then add the mozzarella cut into cubes, a little more fresh basil and another pinch of oregano. Stir and mix over a low heat until the mozzarella starts to melt.

  2. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan as required.

Recipe Notes

I used maccheroni al torchio but other short pasta and even spaghetti work well too.

Italians often use mozzarella di Bufala, but you can use other types. However, it needs to be fresh and a little soft but not watery.

Good ripe tomatoes are important too. I used cherry tomatoes and kept the skins on. Some people use sauce tomatoes such as San Marzano and peel and chop them

Before you go..

take a look at these other delicious pasta recipes which are great for summer or light meals!

1.Vermicelli di Positano

2. Summer tagliolini with marinated vegetables

3. Fusilli with black olive pesto and tuna

4. Linguine with mint pesto and ricotta cream

5. Chifferi elbow pasta with cannellini beans and tuna

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warm pasta caprese with maccheroni al torchio

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  • Lauren Vavala | DeliciousLittleBites
    October 30, 2018 5:39 pm

    Caprese in any shape or form is a favorite of mine. When I saw this pasta recipe, I just knew I’m going to have to try it – sounds delish!

  • Renu
    October 19, 2018 11:14 am

    Thanks for this, I was searching for a yummy pasta salad with the ingredients you have in your recipe. My garden cheery tomatoes would be good to use with. That pasta is so colorful and flavorful and looks so so inviting.

  • Colleen
    October 17, 2018 4:18 am

    I love Caprese salad, and making it in a pasta is so perfect! I Can’t wait to try this.

    • Jacqui
      October 18, 2018 12:24 pm

      Pasta + caprese is a match made in heaven, Colleen! I’m sure you’ll love it!

  • Alexis
    October 17, 2018 4:18 am

    Oh goodness, I adore caprese. Warm mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil over a bed of pasta sounds amazing. Going to try this for sure!

    • Jacqui
      October 18, 2018 12:25 pm

      You’re going to love this for sure Alexis! Pasta + caprese is a foodie heaven!

  • Anna
    September 5, 2018 8:49 am

    This recipe is my idea of heaven! Tomatoes, mozzarella and basil are the most exquisite combination. Bring me caprese any day!

    • Jacqui
      October 16, 2018 2:04 pm

      Thank you! I agree Anna, the combination of flavours in caprese are wonderful. Perfect with pasta too!

  • Beth
    September 4, 2018 11:06 pm

    This looks so delicious! I think I will like this even better than caprese salad! The cheese gets melty! Yum!

    • Jacqui
      October 16, 2018 2:06 pm

      Thank you Beth! Yes pasta + caprese is delish, especially with the melted cheese!

  • Julie @ Running in a Skirt
    September 4, 2018 10:33 pm

    How delicious!! I love that this recipe has all the best caprese flavors for summer. This looks like such a great fast meal.

    • Jacqui
      October 16, 2018 2:07 pm

      Thanks Julie! Yes this is not only amazingly delicious but pretty quick and easy to make! A winner dinner!

  • Amanda
    September 3, 2018 10:29 am

    I love Caprese and it sounds wonderful with the addition of pasta. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jacqui
      September 3, 2018 10:42 am

      Thank you Amanda! Yes Caprese with pasta is a great combo! Same delicious flavours as the salad but a more substantial dish!

  • Catherine Brown
    September 2, 2018 2:01 pm

    I love caprese salad. Caprese pasta, even better! I’ll have to keep my eyes open for this kind of pasta, it looks fun!

    • Jacqui
      September 3, 2018 10:40 am

      Both Caprese salad and pasta are favourites of mine too Catherine! I love this type of pasta. I’m not sure how available it is outside of Italy but you may find it called torchio pasta, rather than maccheroni al torchio. Of course you can use other types of pasta in this recipe!

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