Whilst deep into summer, your side game better be on point. Because let's be real, side dishes are the stars of the menu during these months. This recipe came together in minutes just based on what I had on hand to go with some grilled chicken. It was a way to highlight sweet summer tomatoes and peppery arugula that rounds out the dish.
It would be perfect to bring to a party and can be made in advance to savor later. You can also easily make more or less based on how many mouths you are feeding. There is nothing fancy here, but it surely will look like you slayed it at home or amongst friends.
Caprese Orzo Salad with Arugula
Imperfect Polish 2018
serves 6-8 as a side dish
1 lb of orzo or any small pasta, cooked to al dente, drained, and rinsed with cool water
1 cup of balsamic vinaigrette (home made or bottled)
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup of pine nuts (toasted if you would like)
10 oz of fresh mozzarella, cubed (you can use more if you want!)
Balsamic glaze (you can find this by the vinegars)
Place the cooked orzo in a bowl and pour 3/4 of the vinaigrette over it. Season heavily with salt and pepper and toss to combine well. Taste and add more vinaigrette to your taste. You want it to be heavily seasoned as this is the dressing for the entire salad. Set aside
Get out a large platter or shallow bowl and place the arugula in the bottom. Spoon the orzo over the arugula leaving a border along the sides. Then sprinkle the tomatoes, mozzarella, and pine nuts on top. Lastly, drizzle with the balsamic glaze and season with some fresh ground pepper and salt.
*You can make this an hour or two ahead of time and refrigerate. Skip the salt and pepper at the end and wait until before you serve to add it.