This is a good pasta salad to make a night ahead. The garlic's best aromas come out overnight, and the chunks of tomatoes and olives tuck themselves into the pasta shells. The yogurt gives tang, and the ricotta is simply delicious. It's a go-to pasta salad for me, and a great vegetarian weeknight dinner.
Roasted Garlic, Olive and Tomato Pasta Salad
- 3 small heads garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 pound medium pasta shells
- 15 ounces whole or skim milk ricotta
- 3/4 cup whole milk yogurt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 small tomatoes (about 1 pound), roughly diced
- 1 cup black or green olives, sliced
- 1/3 cup firmly packed cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Heat the oven to 400°F. Slice the tops off the garlic heads. Drizzle with olive oil and place in the center of a large square of foil and fold to seal. Place the packet in a baking pan and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the garlic is very soft. Remove, and let cool.
Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and remove to a large bowl. Toss with a little olive oil, and let cool while making the dressing. Whisk the ricotta and yogurt together until lightened and smooth, and add in all of the roasted garlic - squeezing the soft garlic out of each clove. Whisk vigorously, until the garlic is well-incorporated. Whisk in the salt and season generously with black pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour the ricotta mixture over the pasta and add the tomatoes, olives, and basil. Toss to coat. Taste and season further if needed with salt and pepper.
Serve slightly warm or chilled. The texture is best when served immediately, but the garlic flavor improves overnight, so either way it's good!