Orecchiette with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, and Garlic Chives

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. I’m swimming in them. And the most marvelous thing about tomato season is that much of the work has been done for you, by the farmer. In-season tomatoes are the most marvelous thing to happen to cooking, because even kitchen-phobic, “I can’t even boil water, pass the takeout menu!” types can make perfect, delicious, and colorful meals with minimal effort.

This recipe is another simple, delicious way to cook with your tomatoes right now.

You can either serve it hot, as a side dish, or as a cold salad, by allowing the orecchiette to chill before adding the other ingredients.

It’s exactly the kind of food I’ll be enjoying this week on my Sonoma Valley vacation – hence, the short, effortless recipe for the short, effortless post. Brian and I will be cooking some amazing, California cuisine in our rented tree house kitchen between kayaking, hiking, and wine touring, and I promise to share it all with you here.

Orecchiette with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, and Garlic Chives
Adapted from Bon Appétit, August 2009

10 ounces orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta; about 3 cups uncooked)

1/2 pound pea-size mozzarella or fresh mozzarella, diced

1 pound grape tomatoes or pear tomatoes in assorted colors, halved

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or more, to taste)

3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic chives or regular chives

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return pasta to pot. If you are going to make a salad, chill this until it is cold. If you are serving it as a pasta dish, add mozzarella; stir until cheese begins to melt, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and all remaining ingredients; toss to blend evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7 Comments

  1. Posted September 8, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I love orecchiette! For some odd reason, the couple grocery stores I usually go to have been out of them, and I’ve been on the hunt for my pasta fix!

    Your dish sounds delicious, simple and beautiful!

  2. Helen in CA
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Oh, you’ll be coming out here where I live !!!

    Welcome

    Come on out to the Redwoods for a day & our coast (which is such a contrast to the Atlantic seaboard). Nothing like seeing trees that are taller than many buildings.

    Armstrong Woods is old-growth redwoods so there are trees thousands of years old. Really.

    And it’s harvest in the vineyards. Lovely to see the grapes hanging ripe ready to be picked. And vehicles (of all sizes) mounded w/ them…..off to be crushed.

    Our tomatoes are just coming in……

  3. Lauren
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Chocolate Shavings – I had the same issue with finding orecchiette and ended up at an Italian specialty food store (the one in Chelsea Market, if you happen to be from NYC). I smell conspiracy…

    Helen – Thanks for the welcome. This visit, we decided to stay in Guerneville and we are very happy with that decision. We get a taste of the redwoods here, in fact, the cabin that we rented has them growing up through parts of the house! We drove up CA 1 to get here, it was so beautiful! Hit the market in Healdsburg yesterday and stocked up on tomatoes and other delicious things. Will be posting about everything. Needless to say, I am very jealous that you live here!

  4. Posted September 10, 2009 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    This looks so fresh and delicious.

  5. Helen in CA
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    And you’ve picked a great time to be here (missed our always cool/foggy summer).

    PLEASE go into Armstrong Woods and visit some of the old growth redwoods

    Looking forward to seeing my area seen thru East Village eyes (where I live is over the hill so like Guerneville w/out the river)

  6. liz
    Posted October 10, 2009 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    hi, my grocery store doesn’t sell garlic chives…do any or them…or do you have to grown your own?

  7. Posted October 10, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Liz – Garlic chives are highly seasonal and can be hard to find outside of farmers markets, but it’s not a problem at all. Just substitute regular chives for the garlic chives and this will still be delicious.

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