Lemony Green Bean Pasta Salad with Basil Pine Nut Dressing
Some friends kindly asked me to join them for a Sunday outdoor concert and I needed to figure out a salad type of dish to bring. I’ve been on a shopping freeze, trying to use up everything I can find in this house first so that I don’t have to move it to my new house in a few weeks. I had one bag of pasta left in the pantry, some green beans from my farm CSA last week, and a leftover lemon from a catering event – voila!I keep things on hand like nuts in the freezer, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and high quality extra virgin olive oil. If you stock your pantry with staples like this you can make something creative from just the very basics. And in the summer, keep an herb garden going to you can jazz it up a bit. I made this a simple salad for the picnic at the concert, but you could add chopped cooked chicken for a pretty great one dish meal. When you make a pasta salad, always reserve some of the dressing to toss right before serving it as the pasta tends to absorb the dressing in the refrigerator. Here’s to enjoying time outdoors with friends during these last days of summer!
- 1 pound penne pasta
- ½ to ¾ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts, divided
- 1 large lemon
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Finely grated parmesan cheese, to taste
- Heat a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than package directions, then add the green beans to the cooking pasta and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and run pasta and beans under cold water to prevent them from cooking further. Pour into a large bowl and add half of the toasted pine nuts.
- Add remaining pine nuts to the bowl of a food processor. Zest the lemon directly into them, then juice it into the bowl. Add the basil, sherry vinegar and salt, and pulse to chop up pine nuts and combine ingredients. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream until well emulsified.
- Toss the salad with most of the dressing, then add grated parmesan cheese to taste. Save a small amount of dressing to add right before serving as it will absorb into the pasta in the refrigerator.