The traditional Insalata Caprese is a simple salad which originated from the Italian island of Capri. It’s comprised of vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper. Yep, that’s it! You slice the tomatoes and mozzarella, sliver the basil, and dress with olive oil and salt and pepper. In this recipe, I’ve added pan-toasted raviolis. I find it best to use meatless ravioli, such as cheese or spinach, or both. Meaty flavors such as sausage tend to drown out the subtle freshness of the other ingredients. I also use a homemade balsamic dressing instead of the traditional extra-virgin olive oil, simply because I’m admittedly obsessed with balsamic vinegar. If you prefer plain extra-virgin olive oil, with the salt and pepper of course, that would be tasty, too. If using the balsamic dressing, use sparingly. A lot goes a long way!
1 package fresh cheese based ravioli
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1 ball fresh mozzarella
salt and pepper
If you’re apt to use this dressing for other purposes, go ahead and make a large batch. The ratio is 3:1—3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. If you’re only using for this recipe, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons olive oil should be sufficient.
good quality balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
a pinch of brown sugar
Mix dressing ingredients until well emulsified. Give another vigorous whisk right before using.
Cook the raviolis according to package directions, making sure not to overcook. You want the raviolis to be al dente. Drain. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Working in batches, add the raviolis in a single layer. Pan fry until each side is golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella right before serving, and sliver the basil last.
To assemble, place the tomatoes in the center of a plate. Sprinkle with basil and salt and pepper. Drizzle with the dressing. Top the tomatoes and basil with fresh mozzarella. Arrange the raviolis alongside.