CAPRESE ORZO SALAD WITH BALSAMIC SYRUP

INGREDIENTS
Balsamic Syrup
⅔ cup Traditional balsamic vinegar
2 T honey
1 T dijon mustard

Salad
½ box orzo pasta, whole wheat or regular
1 pint grape tomatoes
6 ounces fresh mozzarella (the pearls are the best)
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons olive oil (your favorite EVOO or try using Tuscan Herb, Garlic, or Herbs de Provence for a bit more flavor)
salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
Balsamic Syrup
Add the balsamic vinegar, honey and dijon mustard to a small pot. Heat to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool completely. It will thicken considerably as it cools.

Salad
Cook the orzo according to package directions. One box of orzo cooks up to be a lot of cooked pasta, so only ½ box is needed. Drain the orzo and let it cool slightly. Pour the orzo into a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil so the orzo doesn’t stick together.
Wash and slice the grape tomatoes in half and add them to the cooked orzo. Cube the fresh mozzarella and add them to the bowl. Wash and tear the basil leaves and add them to the bowl as well. Toss everything together with ¼ cup olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
After dishing out your serving, drizzle with the balsamic syrup to taste.

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