Pasta Salad with Ricotta Salata and Broccolini

Ricotta salata sounds like the soft, creamy cheese that you bake into lasagna, but it’s actually a semi-hard cheese that’s salty and crumbly. –RR

For a complete meal, serve with Portobello Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper Paste and Smoked Mozzarella and Tomato, Onion and Cucumber Salad.


  • 2 bundles broccolini
  • 1/2 pound cavatappi pasta (twists), cooked to al dente
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/3-1/2 pound wedge ricotta salata cheese
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme leaves (about 2 tablespoons), stripped from stems
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved


Trim and discard the bottom half-inch from the broccolini, then cut the broccolini into 1-inch pieces. Steam broccolini covered in a small skillet in a half-inch of boiling water for 3 minutes, then cold shock with icy cold water and drain. Combine broccolini and pasta in a bowl.

Return pan to stove over low heat and sauté shallots and garlic in EVOO, a couple of glugs, for 2 minutes. Pour warm EVOO over pasta and broccolini. Crumble ricotta salata over pasta. Sprinkle the pasta with thyme, salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings and garnish salad with grape tomatoes.

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