8ouncesfresh mozzarella water-packed mozzarella pearls ("perline" or tiny balls)
1½-ounce bunch fresh basilsliced in a chiffonade
FOR THE DRESSING:
½cupextra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepperto taste
Cook the orzo in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool, tossing occasionally so that the orzo doesn't clump together.
While the orzo is cooking and cooling, prepare the dressing by combining the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, honey, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. You may whisk it vigorously in a bowl, shake it in a tightly-sealed jar, or pulse it in a mini food processor.
Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large bowl. Carefully mix in fresh mozzarella, tomato halves, basil chiffonade, and about ⅔ of the prepared vinaigrette, or as much as you prefer. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled, stirring in additional dressing just before serving (since the dressing will soak into the pasta while in the fridge).
After cooking the orzo, I prefer not to rinse it since the starch helps the vinaigrette adhere to the pasta. However, it's important to occasionally toss/stir the orzo as it cools to prevent it from clumping. Alternatively, if you already have the vinaigrette prepared, you can stir in a bit which will also prevent sticking.
If you can't find mozzarella pearls, it's okay to buy a big ball of fresh mozzarella and cut it into ½-inch cubes.
If making the vinaigrette with a very high quality balsamic vinegar, the honey may not be necessary.
I explain how to chiffonade basil (with step-by-step photos) in this post.