Pasta Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, and Green Olivida

Olivida pasta salad

Happy Memorial Day! This month for Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Amy's blog, Fearless Homemaker. I absolutely loved reading through her blog. She seems like such a fun girl…and you have to read about her surprise wedding. How awesome! After bookmarking several recipes, it all came down to this pasta salad, in honor of the kickoff to outdoor grilling and picnic meals! I did swap green olives for a mixture of Greek olives, because that is all that my grocery store had in their olive bar container. (In the process of making this pasta salad, I discovered that a cherry pitter does NOT make a good olive pitter like the woman at the kitchen store told me!) When all was said and done, this pasta salad was every bit as good as I imagined it would be. In fact, I'm looking forward to having another bowl this afternoon, before I walk down to my corner to watch the Memorial Day Parade! Thanks for a great recipe, Amy! 

1 Garlic Clove, peeled
2 cups Pitted Green Olives, coarsely chopped and divided
3 tablespoons Capers, drained
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes 
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 pound Pasta (I used gemelli)
2 pints Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved (I only used 1)
8 ounces Small Fresh Mozzarella Balls
2 tablespoons Fresh Oregano, chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Put the garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add 1 cup of chopped olives, capers, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, and crushed red pepper flakes. Pulse about 6 times to chop coarsely. With the machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup of oil, forming a coarse puree (almost like tapenade texture). Transfer the olive mixture to a bowl. Stir in the remaining cup of olives and season to taste with salt and pepper. (This mixture can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, just cover and refrigerate). Cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and allow to cool (I ran my pasta under cold water to cool it down). Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the pasta and toss to coat (I skipped this). Add the olive mixture, tomatoes, mozzarella, and oregano to the pasta and toss to coat. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. 

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