Hartford House

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Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

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Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe

Caprese Pasta Salad Photo : Jackie Cameron

Caprese Pasta Salad
Photo : Jackie Cameron

Quick and Simple Caprese Pasta Salad

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Potato or pasta salads are tasty and healthy, as are pumpkin fritters, potato cakes and corn on the cob.

Hand pressed Basil Pesto

Yields : about 400 - 500 ml

Ingredients :

70 g Fresh Basil

100 g Pine Nuts or Pine Kernels (chef's note : Flaked Almonds can be substituted as a more reasonable alternative and they taste as delicious!)

60 g Butter (chef's note :  gives the Pesto a thicker consistency)

250 ml Olive Oil

25 g Garlic

100 g finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino

Salt and Pepper

Method :

1) Place basil, butter, olive oil, garlic and grated parmesan into a liquidiser

2) Roast and slightly cool the pine nuts (chef's note: roast nuts just before adding to the other ingredients to ensure a fresh roasted flavour)

3) Add the nuts to the liquidiser and liquidise until the correct desired consistency is reached

250ml (115gr) Penne Pasta, uncooked

Drizzle of olive oil

60ml Basil Pesto

20gr Sundried Tomatoes, soaked in boiling water, cut into strips

150gr Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half

15gr Fresh Basil shredded in pieces

15ml Pine Nuts, roasted

70gr Mozzarella Cheese, cut in little cubes

Fresh Basil and Freshly Grinded Black Pepper to garnish

Method :


1) Fill a large pot with water and salt (chef's note : work on an average that for every 100 g of pasta use 1 litre of water. Pasta loves salt (10 g salt per 100 g pasta) so don't be scared to add)

2) When water is boiling add pasta and stir to prevent pasta sticking

3) Cook until al dente (firm to the bite)

4) When the pasta is cooked, spoon the pasta out of the water with a slotted spoon into a colander. (chef's note : to prevent the starch sticking to the pasta and making the pasta quills stick to each other)

5) Put the pasta under cold water

6) Drizzle olive oil and basil pesto over the pasta for flavour (chef's note : I always add pesto or freshly cut herbs to pasta to enhance the flavour)

7) Finish with all the other ingredients

Please post your comments and any food-related questions below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jackie Cameron
Hartford House, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
+27 33 263 2713

Caprese Salad Recipe

Caprese Salad Photo : Jackie Cameron

Caprese Salad
Photo : Jackie Cameron

On a recent visit to Switzerland, I unexpectedly crossed the border one day for lunch in Italy. Choosing a traditional Caprese salad with Foccacia bread and Gnocchi Gorgonzola seemed the right thing to do. And it was. What a meal!

Caprese Salad

(Most popular summer Italian speciality featuring three primary ingredients : tomato, basil and mozzarella. Colours that reflect the national flag. Water buffalo mozzarella is always preferred.)

New Age Caprese Salad; Rosemary, Maldon Salt roasted Cherry Tomato Puff Pastry sitting on Fresh Basil Leaves and hand broken Buffalo Mozzarella drizzled with Olive Oil and Vinegar

Yields : 1

Ingredients :

Puff Pastry

4 strips of Mozzarella

5-10 ml Basil pesto

1 Sundried Tomato-soaked in boiling water and sliced

5 ml salted Butter

½ punnet Cherry Tomatoes-cut in half

Balsamic Vinegar

3 ml Maldon Salt

1 sprig Rosemary

½ ball Buffalo Mozzarella, if available

Fresh Basil Leaves

Olive Oil and Vinegar

Method :

1) Base. Roll out Puff Pastry and line a 8cm round tartlet base. Dock (Prick) the base all over. Put into the fridge for at least one hour for the pastry to relax. On top of the puff pastry base put a layer of greaseproof paper and fill with either baking beans, dried beans or rice and Bake Blind. (Chef's note: This is the term given to the method of cooking an empty pastry case.) Bake at 200̊C until the puff is cooked about 15 minutes

2) Cool the base and top with a thin layer of mozzarella. Place basil pesto on top of this layer together with sundried tomato slices

3) Heat a pan extremely well, add butter and tomatoes. Be careful not to overload the pan. Ensure searing. Splash the pan with balsamic

4) Place these hot tomatoes on top of the sundried tomatoes. Add a sprinkle of Maldon salt and chopped Rosemary. Finish with the buffalo mozzarella

5) Put this onto a tray and into a hot oven, 220˚C, allow heating until the buffalo mozzarella is just starting to melt

6) Serve on a bed of fresh basil leaves. Garnish with a good grind of black pepper and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic

Please post your comments and any food-related questions below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

jackie cameron

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef
Hartford House
+27 33 263 2713