1small bunchfresh basil,chopped and divided (reserving some for the garnish)
¼cupextra virgin olive oil
2teaspoonsgarlic,grated (about 2 cloves)
0.6ounceItalian season dressing mix
Balsamic Glaze (for garnish)
In a small mixing bowl or a pint-size mason jar, combine all the ingredients for the balsamic dressing. Mix well and place in the refrigerator to chill while preparing the rest of the pasta salad.
Cook pasta for 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and place the cooked pasta into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In the large mixing bowl with the cooked pasta, add the halved grape tomatoes, a package of mozzarella pearls, fresh chopped basil (reserving some of the basil for garnish), and ½ cup of the prepared balsamic dressing.
Mix all the pasta salad ingredients together, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
While the pasta salad is chilling, make the balsamic glaze for the garnish by combining the balsamic vinegar and honey in a small saucepan on the stovetop. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture reduces by half. Transfer the glaze to a glass jar and allow it to cool completely before drizzling it on the pasta salad just prior to serving.
Garnish the chilled pasta salad with the reserved chopped basil and the balsamic glaze.
Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.
Make sure your pasta is fully cooled to room temperature before adding the other ingredients, or your cheese will start to melt. Rinse it with cold water to ensure it is cooled enough and doesn’t stick together.