Baby Shell Pasta Salad With Kalamata Olives and Roasted Fennel

READY IN: 45mins


  • 1
    lb small shell pasta, uncooked
  • 1 12
    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)
  • 34 - 1
    cup kalamata olive (more if desired)
  • 12
    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)
  • 13
    cup balsamic vinegar
  • 13
  • 2
    tablespoons barbecue sauce (any flavor desired)
  • 2
    tablespoons lime juice
  • 14
    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.