We visited cousin Rob Mish on a starry August evening for dinner al fresco at his home, The Field Mouse, in Lexington, Virginia. The fabulous menu included a very tasty pasta salad which we did our best to replicate for our family’s summer birthday party. The salad was a hit with family too and requests for the recipe followed.
16 ounces orzo
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
8 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese in small balls about the size of a cherry (ciliegine or bocconcini)
1 pint yellow and red cherry tomatoes, halved
Cook pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Cook orzo 1 minute under required cooking time given on box. Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Place on sheet tray to cool down.
Make pesto. In a food processor or blender, combine garlic, pine nuts, and basil. Pulse for a few seconds. Slowly drizzle in the rest of the olive oil to emulsify the pesto. Add half the Parmigiano and the salt and pepper and pulse.
Mix together. In a large bowl combine pasta and pesto. Mix well so that all the pasta is coated with the pesto. Drain the mozzarella balls and add to bowl. Add the rest of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and cherry tomatoes. Fold all the ingredients into the pasta and serve.