For those of you that know me pretty well this recipe might surprise you. It appears to be a pasta salad - but I maintain that it's not. For those who don't know me - I can't stand salad dressing of any kind. I don't like the smell or the taste, blah! So when I made this for dinner the other night my husband laughed at me and said it IS, in fact, a pasta salad. My argument is that there's no "salad dressing" or vinegar or anything else that I consider part of the salad family, so therefore, it is not a pasta 'salad.' It's just a pasta side dish. (I know it makes no sense, but that's how I'm rationalizing it)
Anyway, this is an awesome side dish and easy to make for a large crowd. I will be doubling it for an upcoming BBQ. I also love that it is served cold so you can make it ahead of time, stick it in the fridge and get it out for dinner. You can substitute a different pasta for orzo too if you'd like. I picked orzo because I've been on an orzo/risotto kick lately and had it on hand. And as with most pasta 'side dish' recipes feel free to make changes to the ingredients based on your tastes - add a different herb, add olives, etc. It's very versatile.
Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Orzo
8 oz uncooked orzo
4 oz mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 container of grape tomatoes, cut in half
6-8 basil leaves, julienned
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
a few cranks of cracked black pepper
Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain and allow to cool.
Mix up olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and basil in a small dish. Pour over cooled pasta and stir to coat. Fold in cheese and tomatoes. Serve cold.
Makes about 4-6 side dish servings.