With the cooler weather here I don't have to worry about the heat that having the oven on will create and that means that things like casseroles are back on the menu! Since the tomatoes and basil is still around I took advantage of the opportunity to make a 'caprese' pasta casserole with some fresh tomatoes and basil pesto; along with plenty of melted mozzarella of course! This recipe is super simple consisting of cooked pasta, marinara sauce, fresh cherry tomatoes, pesto, mozzarella and a touch of cream for richness, and is all mixed together and baked until the cheese has melted. There is just something that is magical about the combination of the tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes, basil pesto, mozzarella and cream and it works so amazingly well in this pasta casserole! One of the best things about this casserole is how the cherry tomatoes on top roast up, concentrating their flavour, and how the ones in the middle explode with warm tomato-y goodness in your mouth!
Just look at all of that melted cheese!
Creamy Pesto Caprese Pasta Casserole
All of the flavours of a caprese salad including tomatoes, basil pesto and plenty of melted mozzarella in a baked pasta casserole.
- 12 ounces pasta (gluten free for gluten free)
- 2 cups marinara sauce or your favourite tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano (parmesan) grated
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup pesto
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 4 ounces mozzarella, diced
- basil leaves to taste
- Cook the pasta as directed and when it is done mix in the marinara sauce, cream, parmesan, balsamic vinegar, pesto, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella.
- Pour the mixture into a baking dish and bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven until bubbling on the sides and golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.
- Serve topped with julienned basil.
Option: Add sliced grilled chicken.
Option: Omit the heavy cream or replace it with Greek yogurt or sour cream.
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