Orecchiette is one of my favourite pasta shapes -- it looks like "little hats" and holds sauces well. This pasta salad is nice when served at room temperature. It's a big hit at pot lucks and makes yummy leftovers for lunch!
Thinly slice the onion, red pepper, zucchini and mushrooms. Heat olive oiI in a large saute pan -- add onions, cooking until softened, then add garlic, red pepper, mushrooms and zucchini -- continue to cook until lightly coloured.
Drain and quarter the artichoke hearts.
Stir the grilled veggies and the remaining ingredients (except tomatoes and additional dressing) into the cold cooked pasta -- mix well.
Place into a container with a lid and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
When ready to serve, refresh with additional 1/4 cup of salad dressing and garnish with quartered cherry tomatoes.
The salad dressing is the most recognizable flavour so make sure you're confident with the taste -- you can make your own with a light tasting olive oil, lemon juice (or white balsamic), dijon mustard and your choice of herbs, but I find Kraft's Classic Herb is perfect for pasta salads.
As I cook with cheeses so frequently, I stock my fridge/freezer with one-cup baggies filled with a blend of shredded imported Italian white cheeses (asiago, provolone, pecorino romano and parmegiana reggiano). You can easily substitute crumbled feta, but it will completely change the flavour. Also, as these cheeses are quite salty, I rarely add table salt to my recipes.