Shells a la Caprese
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 to 4 teaspoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 small shallot, finely minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 4 medium) ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella (see note above), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 pound pasta shells
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Add the diced tomatoes, toss gently to combine, and set aside for up to 30 minutes.
- If using commercially made mozzarella, spread the cubed cheese on a plate and set in the freezer until slightly firm, about 10 minutes.
- In a large pot, over high heat, bring 4 quarts water to a rolling boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta shells. Cook, uncovered, until al dente. Drain well.
- Add the pasta, mozzarella and basil to the tomato mixture, gently tossing to combine. Adjust seasonings with additional salt, pepper, lemon juice or sugar, as desired.
- Portion onto 4 to 6 serving plates or pasta bowls, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve.