Ingredients for dressing.
Combine the ricotta cheese, vinegar, mustard, and shallot in a small food processor and season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth. With the motor running, gradually add the olive oil and process until creamy.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the tarragon.
The dressing may be made 1 day ahead. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Cook the fusilli in a pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, 9 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the ham and next 6 ingredients (through zucchini) to the pasta.
Stir in the dressing and 2 tablespoons chopped chives. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Transfer the pasta salad to a serving bowl and garnish with additional chopped chives. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Loaded with sweet and crunchy fresh vegetables and hearty whole-wheat pasta and a little smoky ham this flavorful, nutritious salad makes a satisfying lunch or dinner for four to five people. And you can easily make it vegetarian by omitting the ham.
Fusilli is a short, tightly spiraled pasta, similar to rotini which you can substitute if you don't have fusilli. The spring-like shape of both pastas is great for a thick, creamy dressing because it clings to the spirals.
The dressing here uses ricotta cheese as the base, making it extra rich and creamy without adding an actual cheese taste. Make it a day ahead for even deeper herbal flavor.