Sometimes I get too excited about cooking and start to throw anything and everything in the pan; but sometimes simple is better and less is more. That’s something I learned in Italy that I occasionally need reminding of. And what’s more simple and Italian than caprese salad?
I started out by thinking of how I could incorporate more protein or vegetables into this dish. Then I realized that it didn’t need it, the flavors of basil, mozzarella, tomato and balsamic are more than enough. Save all that other stuff for the side dishes!
Serves 4 – Cost approx $.98 per serving
- 3-4 Tbs butter ($.28)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk ($.47)
- 1/2 lb mozzarella, shredded or cut in small pieces ($1.49)
- 1/3 cup pesto, mine is homemade from my Daddy’s basil forest in the backyard! ($.25)
- salt, to taste
- 1 lb pasta of your choosing ($.69)
- 1 large tomato, small dice ($.50)
- fancy balsamic, for drizzles
Start by putting a pot on to boil for the pasta, move on to making the sauce and just salt the water and cook the pasta till al dente when the time comes.
To make the sauce, brown the butter in a large sauce pot. Add in the flour and whisk to make a brown butter roux (that’s how they make beschamel in the ‘Old Country!’) and cook for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes or so to thicken the sauce. Mix in the mozzarella and pesto and simmer until the cheese is melted, then add in the pasta and cook to meld the flavors for another few minutes.
Garnish with some sprinkles of tomato and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Yum!