This is a recipe that’s barely a recipe, and more of a template for a yummy meal that you can personalize to your own tastes.
It’s inspired by something we had on our recent vacation to Boa Vista, Cape Verde. This island is booming in popularity as a tourist destination and it’s easy to see why. You’ve got beautiful beaches to walk on, a wide open dessert to explore, and a great selection of restaurants (especially Italian restaurants, which we all know is my fave).
Boa Vista also have an abundance of locally made goat’s cheeses, in all sorts of different textures. So when you order something with goat’s cheese, you might get a soft cheese or a stringy cheese or a firm, halloumi-like cheese. I tried as many as I could get my hands on!
The inspiration for this dish is something that Mr. Veggie ordered at the lovely Boa Vista Social Club (we loved that place and visited almost every day for a glass of their Fogo wine and beautiful view!). It was a tomato and goat’s cheese pasta salad. Mr. Veggie has always been a fan of the simple pasta dishes, while I am sometimes skeptical (after all, I spend my time creating things like this). But it was just great, and I would have stolen it from him if I weren’t busy devouring the most amazing pesto linguine I’ve ever tasted.
I really liked how they structured the dish, pairing hot pasta with colder ingredients and letting the temperature even itself out. The tomatoes are juicy and a bit raw, but they warm up. The cheese starts to melt, but not enough to start clumping together. And that it makes it so quick and easy for the home cook. You can chop everything while the pasta boils, so if you’re efficient, this is a 15 minute meal. Eat it warm for dinner, or let it cool down and serve it at a potluck or barbecue.
This is not a replica, because we don’t have access to that lovely, mozzarella-like goat’s cheese in London. So I’ve just used British buffalo mozzarella and made it into a caprese pasta bowl. Then I grated some hard goat’s cheese on top to recapture the flavor. Voila!
You can certainly experiment with other cheeses to bring in the flavors you enjoy. Next time, I might try it with burrata. Mmmm.
- 300g (10.5oz) penne or rigatoni
- Several Tblsps of good quality olive oil
- 1 125g (4.4oz) ball of buffalo mozzarella
- 250g (8.8oz) of cherry tomatoes, quartered
- A few handfuls of torn basil
- A few handfuls of grated hard goats cheese or parmesan
- Boil the pasta according to package instructions.
- While it's cooking, prep the rest of the ingredients: roughly chop the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
- Once al dente, drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Turn off the heat. Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil and stir through until combined.
- Transfer to a large serving bowl, or individual bowls, and grate your hard goats cheese on top.