- 1lbsmall shell pasta, uncooked
- 1 1/2cupsfennel bulbs, cut in half lengthwise
- 2mediumonions, chopped 1/2 inch thick or1 largeonion, chopped 1/2 inch thick
- 3tablespoonsolive oilor vegetable oil
- 1cup freshplum tomatoes, diced(do nto use canned for this recipe)
- 3/4-1cupkalamata olives(more if desired)
- 1/2cup assortedfresh herbs, finely chopped(any kind you desire, I like to include basil with the herbs)
- 3-4garlic cloves, with the peel on(leave whole)
- 1/3cupbalsamic vinegar
- 1/3cupolive oil
- 2tablespoonsbarbecue sauce(any flavor desired)
- 2tablespoonslime juice
- 1/4cupromano cheeseor 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.
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