Pasta salad says summer to me. It is one of my favorite dishes to eat in the summer, and I look forward to piling it alongside my burger at barbecues. In fact, I don't think there is a pasta salad that I don't like. I think everyone has their own favorite version. This pasta salad is definitely mine. I got the inspiration for this pasta salad from two of my favorite Italian chefs, Giada De Laurentis and Lydia Matticchio Bastianich. They each make a pasta salad that I enjoy. Here I have combined the two and used Giada's red wine vinaigrette to create my favorite pasta salad yet.
To make this pasta salad, first cook 1 1/2 cups of orzo pasta in 4 cups of water with two chicken bullion cubes in the water. Cook until just al dente about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain pasta and rinse with a little cold water in strainer to help prevent it from sticking together. Set aside.
Prepare the rest of your ingredients. You will need 1 1/2 cups of grape tomatoes cut in half, 1 cup of chickpeas, 1/2 cup of chopped basil, and 4-5 ounces of fresh mozzarella cut into cubes.
I found these tomatoes. They are Roma grape tomatoes...very yummy!
Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, the juice of one lemon, 2 teaspoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of salt, 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1 cup of olive oil. Whisk together thoroughly. You will only need about 1/2 cup of this vinaigrette for the pasta salad. Save the rest for later use.
In a large bowl mix pasta, chickpeas, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Add 1/2 cup of vinaigrette and mix well. Add more vinaigrette as needed to taste.
Orzo Pasta Salad With Chickpeas, Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Basil adapted from Giada and Lydia
4 cups of water
2 chicken bullion cubes
1 1/2 cups of orzo pasta
1 cup of chickpeas
1 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes cut in half
4-5 ounces of fresh mozzarella cut into cubes
1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil
Red Wine Vinaigrette adapted from Giada
1/2 Cup of red wine vinegar
The juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
2 teaspoons of honey
1 teaspoon of salt
3/4 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper
1 cup of olive oil
Boil 2 chicken bullion cubes in 4 cups of water. Add orzo and cook for about 7-8 minutes until al dente. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water in colander to prevent sticking. Set aside.
Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl with a whisk until well combined.
In a large bowl, mix together pasta, chickpeas, tomatoes, basil, and about 1/2 cup of vinaigrette. Mix well. Add more vinaigrette to taste.