Insalata Caprese is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil. When Jim and I were in Italy, it was usually served as an antipasto (first course), not a contorno (side dish). I ate Insalata Caprese nearly every day on our vacation because the flavors in this dish go SO WELL together.
When we returned from our honeymoon, I decided to take the idea of the salad, and make my own entree version: Caprese Chicken with Balsamic Drizzle
Prep the chicken: Rinse and pat dry the chicken breast. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Put in a 350 oven for 25 minutes.
Prep the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook spaghetti as package directs. When al dente, drain and toss with olive oil, chopped tomato and season with salt and pepper. Ribbons of fresh basil would be perfect here but I didn't have any, so I used a pinch of dried basil.
Make sauce: I took 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and brought to a simmer in a small saucepan. I kept the simmer until the balsamic vinegar thickened into a syrup.
Plate: After 25 minutes in the oven, I placed a hearty slice of tomato on top of the chicken breast and topped that with a slice of mozzarella cheese. This cooked for 10 more minutes. Serve the chicken with the lightly dressed pasta and drizzle with the reduced balsamic vinegar for a burst of flavor!
Here is my first version of the salad I made back in 2008: Insalata Caprese
I also took a cooking class at Faraday's Kitchen store in 2009 and I loved Chef Dean Chambers presentation of this Caprese Salad.
I'm not going to post a printable recipe, because this is something I just made up. I took a dish I really love and "beefed" it up with baked chicken and some simple pasta. Be creative and bold in the kitchen!