Even though Labor Day is quickly approaching, we've still got plenty of weekend cookouts on our calendars.
So we decided to come up with a pasta salad that can brighten up any get-together: Ours is laced with tender haricots verts, garlicky zucchini, torn mint, thyme and crunchy toasted almonds. The only dressing comes from a little bit of olive oil used to sauté the zucchini and a squirt of lemon juice. Red pepper, lemon zest and a little Pecorino finish everything off.
The vibrant, peppery salad is great warm or cold.
To learn more, read "Frill Seekers."
Pasta Salad with Haricots Verts, Zucchini and Almonds
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
1 pound short cut pasta, such as garganelli, campanelle or fusilli
½ pound haricots verts, trimmed
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
Salt and coarse black pepper, to taste
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 loosely packed cup torn mint leaves
½ cup marcona almonds, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved using a vegetable peeler
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the haricots verts to the pot during final 2 minutes of cooking. Drain the pasta and haricots verts in a colander and immediately transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss, making sure the pasta strands are not sticking together.
2. Heat the remaining oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until the shallots have completely softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. To assemble the salad, toss the pasta and haricots verts with the zucchini mixture, lemon zest and juice, mint, almonds and red pepper flakes. Top with the Pecorino. Serve warm or at room temperature.