Minestrone Pasta Salad
8 ounces dried ditalini pasta
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely diced red onion
1 medium (4 ounces) zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
4 ounces green beans (ends trimmed), cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 medium (4 ounces total) carrots, scrubbed well, then cut into generous ¼-inch cubes (¾ cup)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
⅛ teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup cooked, no-salt-added chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned)
¾ cup cooked, no-salt-added Great Northern beans (drained and rinsed if using canned)
2 ounces sliced hard Italian salami, cut into generous ¼-inch squares
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, plus more for optional garnish
1 tomato (6 ounces), peeled, seeded and cut into ¼-inch dice, for garnish (optional)
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the ditalini and cook according to the package directions. Use a slotted spoon/strainer to transfer the pasta to a colander set in the sink; rinse with cold water to cool immediately. Return the pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium nonstick saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the zucchini pieces and cook for 3 minutes; the vegetable should still be firm. Remove from the heat.
Prepare a bowl of water and ice.
Add the string bean pieces to the pot of boiling water; cook for 3 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes -- no longer. Immediately drain the vegetables, then transfer them to the ice-water bath. After 10 minutes, drain the vegetables. Lay them out on paper towels or on a clean dish towel to dry.
In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 5 tablespoons oil, balsamic and red wine vinegars, oregano, mustard and sugar to form an emulsified dressing. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta, zucchini-onion mix, carrots, green beans, chickpeas, Great Northern beans, salami and chopped basil; stir to incorporate. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl. If desired, garnish with basil and diced tomato just before serving.
Nutrition values per serving: 190 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated), 22 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 5 g protein, 0 cholesterol, 115 mg sodium.
Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, for The Washington Post