A salad version of a good southern Italian pasta dish
2 pounds radiatore
salt and pepper to taste
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes
2 pounds plum tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil plus additional for brushing tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 pound full-flavored black olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup very finely minced parsley
1. Cook pasta in a large kettle of boiling salted water until al dente. Run under cold water, drain, and place in a large bowl. Season pasta with salt and pepper.
2. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a small saucepan with enough water to just cover them. Bring to a boil, turn off heat, and let sit for a few minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove the stems from the plum tomatoes, cut each tomato in half the long way, and place on a roasting pan. Brush tomatoes with a little olive oil and bake for 10 minutes, or until tomatoes are light brown on both sides. Remove and let cool.
4. In a food processor purée garlic, basil, sun-dried tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar. Add olive oil in a thin stream.
5. Add the roasted tomatoes and the olives to the bowl of pasta. Add the dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley. Serve at room temperature.
Though we find that thick, short shapes of pasta often make a starchy chew in pasta salad, the convoluted radiatore (they look like little heaters) create a very complicated chew -- which adds lots of fun to any pasta salad. This one tastes like a salad version of a good southern Italian pasta dish. Serves 12