Apparently this is going to be a big summer for picnics for me. My energetic and fun-loving work collegues decided that we should have a potluck picnic wherein you bring food that somewhat represents your ethnic background. I made Byron come along with me even thought he doesn't work with us--it's just a good idea to get him out of the office sometimes. He brought (among other things) pimento cheese because his ethnic background is Decatur, Georgia. I brought pasta caprese because I thought it might travel well to the picnic environment, even though it is typically a dish that you should make and eat immediately. I tweaked the recipe somewhat to be a do-ahead sort of thing but I will tell you how to make it for real.
Chopped up a pint of small, grape tomatoes and let them sit in about 1/4 cup of olive oil, juice of 1 small lemon, 2 minced, small garlic cloves, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon sugar, salt and pepper. Chopped up 2 balls of fresh mozzarella--the better your mozzarella is the better this dish will be. I used the large, ovaline size of mozzarella balls. If you are NOT making this ahead of time (and I would recommend that), stick the mozzarella pieces in the freezer for about 10 minutes before you toss it with the hot pasta so it doesn't turn into a melty clump. Chop up as much basil as you can get your hands on--my plant is still growing so I only had about 1/4 cup but you could use as much as 1/2 cup chopped basil if you really like it. Boil up a 1 lb package of penne pasta, drain it and toss it while still completely hot with the tomato mixture. Toss toss toss. Then add the basil and your mozzarella that has been in the freezer. Toss toss toss. That's it! You're done! Now go to your damn picnic and alienate all your friends! That's what I did anyway.