Fall is officially upon us, but Mother Nature seems to be enjoying a lingering summer feel in the air. Something about warm days (great walking weather) and cool nights (great sleeping weather) - when the harvest of the summer season is still in full abundance and readily available - makes this a particularly enchanting time of year.
With tomatoes and peppery greens everywhere you look, this time of year begs for a late-summer Caprese salad, but with a bit more oomph. Add in some chicken and pasta, cloak it all in lemony vinaigrette and you’ve got yourself a winner as either a main or a side dish. This is a perfect way to celebrate a summer-like stretch of weather in early fall – a true taste of summer turned up a notch or two.
Chicken Caprese Pasta Salad
• 1 pound fusilli pasta
• 1 bunch (about 5 ounces) baby arugula, rinsed and drained
• 1 cup lemon vinaigrette, recipe follows
• 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved and seeded
• 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, drained and diced
• 2 cups white meat rotisserie chicken, shredded into bite-sized bits
Cook the fusilli according to package directions, drain well, place into a large mixing bowl, and gently toss with some extra virgin olive oil; set aside.
Add the arugula and half of the lemon vinaigrette to the bowl of pasta and toss well. Add in the grape tomatoes and toss. Add the fresh mozzarella pieces, and toss again.
Next, add in the chicken and toss well, adding additional vinaigrette if needed. (You will find that the chicken absorbs most of the vinaigrette, so you may well use all of it.)
Toss the pasta mixture until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated and well coated. Serve at room temperature for best results.
Serves 4 - 6 as a main course, 8 – 10 as a side dish.
• 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Add all ingredients into a clean jar, cover and shake well. This make one cup of lemon vinaigrette.