Ahhh....September is such a sweet time of year in California. Most days are still warm and sunny, but every once in a while Autumn breaks through with its cool crisp promises.
It's almost time to say goodbye to local fresh tomatoes. This dish is a great last hurrah to tomato season. It's fresh and light and sooo easy to make.
In a large bowl, toss together 4-5 chopped fresh tomatoes (I used Romas), with a handful of torn fresh basil, about 6 oz cubed mozzarella, about 1/4 cup of sliced Kalamata olives, 1 TBS of rinsed capers, 1/3 cup of EVO oil, and a large handful of baby spinach. Add a sprinkle of salt, fresh ground pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Toss and let the mixture sweat and marinade for about 30 minutes while you cook the pasta.
Cook a pound of penne, al dente, drain and immediately toss over the caprese mixture. The heat from the pasta will wilt the spinach and warm the sauce. Sprinkle with some shredded parmesan cheese and serve with a crusty bread.
You can omit the olives and capers if you'd prefer, but if you do, add a splash of balsamic vinegar for a little tang.
That's it. And leftovers make a great cold pasta salad the next day. Mangia bene!