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This salad is most delicious, I make it quite often in the summer time when fennel is in season, everyone just loves it....roasting the fennel, onion and the garlic just seems to bring out so much flavor in this salad....you will love this!
- 1 lb small shell pasta, uncooked
- 1 1⁄2 cups fennel bulbs, cut in half lengthwise
- 2 medium onions or 1 large onion, chopped 1/2 inch thick
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup fresh plum tomato, diced (do nto use canned for this recipe)
- 3⁄4-1 cup kalamata olive (more if desired)
- 1⁄2 cup assorted fresh herb, finely chopped (any kind you desire, I like to include basil with the herbs)
- 3 -4 garlic cloves, with the peel on (leave whole)
- 1⁄3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (any flavor desired)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1⁄4 cup romano cheese, grated or shredded or 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
- dried chili pepper flakes (any amount for sprinkling)
- Cook the pasta until eldente (don't over cook); drain, and rinse with cold water; set aside.
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Toss the 3-4 cloves (or more if desired) of whole unpeeled garlic with the fennel and the sliced onions with the 3 Tbsp olive oil OR vegetable oil; spread on a small greased cookie sheet or baking pan, and roast in the oven until lightly browned and tender (approx 20-30 minutes).
- Remove from oven; set aside the fennel and onion.
- In a bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, barbecue sauce and lime juice with salt and pepper to taste.
- Squeeze the baked garlic out of it's peel, and add whisk into the dressing.
- Dice the baked onions, fennel and the tomatoes; add to the cooked pasta shells.
- Add the olives, fresh herbs and the dressing mix; toss everything well to coat.
- Cover and chill for 1 or more hours to blend the flavors.
- Before serving, sprinkle with the Romano or Parmesan cheese, and the crushed chili peppers.
- ***NOTE:if desired 2-3 Tbsp grated Romano or Parmesan cheese may be mixed into the salad.