When I was a kid “Pasta Salad” was just a requisite side dish at family gatherings that was hastily bought at the grocery store and remained in it’s plastic tub beside other more appetizing offerings while slowly making it’s way to room temperature. I never really understood how macaroni noodles, eggs and mustard where always such an important part of every barbecue I went to. And while these little gatherings were being planned, there was always a mention of it, “Who is going to bring the pasta salad?” Pasta salads have so much variety and take so little time, you don’t ever have to resort to grocery store tub again.
Instead of that I offer you this. Orzo pasta and a fairly traditional Caprese salad, mixed together and served in a hallowed out tomato (feel free to bypass the individual serving size vegetable dish for larger gatherings.)
Orzo Caprese Salad in Tomato Cups
1 cup dry Orzo pasta
2 cups (10 oz) grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups small mozzareall balls (ciliegine sized) cut in half or quarters
5 basil leaves, chopped
3 tbs pesto sauce
1 tsp balsamic
Salt & Pepper
4 beefsteak tomatoes
Cook Orzo according to package directions until al dente, put in a bowl with the grape tomatoes, mozzarella balls, basil leaves, pesto and balsamic. Toss to combine, salt and pepper to taste.
To serve in tomato cups, cut the beefsteak tomatoes in half widthwise and use a melon baller to scoop out the insides.
Fill with Orzo Caprese Salad and serve.