THE WASHINGTON POST- Pasta salad – alongside coleslaw and potato salad – form the trio of staple summer side dishes. While there’s practically an infinite number of pasta salads one can make, at its most basic form, “You just need a nice tomato, some pasta, olive oil and salt and pepper,” chef Amy Brandwein of Centrolina in Washington told Becky Krystal.
This recipe for pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes and white beans is not too far from that fundamental version, but packs more of a punch and can be made entirely with ingredients from your pantry.
“Sun-dried tomatoes themselves are a product of the Mediterranean region, mainly southern Italy,” Priya Krishna wrote in Taste. Tomatoes arrived in the region in the mid 1500s, where the crops prospered. As a result, people dried them in the sun and packed them in oil to preserve the produce to use throughout the year. “The drying process, they discovered, brought out an intense, sweet and tart flavour in the tomatoes, so sun drying became a widespread technique.”
I, too, am here to declare that sun-dried tomatoes – tart, sweet and packed with umami – are a powerhouse ingredient worthy of being a pantry staple, now and forever.
PASTA SALAD WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND WHITE BEANS
In this recipe, sun-dried tomatoes are mixed with capers, stone-ground mustard, olive oil and seasonings for a punchy dressing.
– Half cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
– Quarter cup extra-virgin olive oil
– One tablespoon capers, chopped
– One tablespoon whole-grain mustard
– One teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
– Quarter teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
– One-eighth to quarter teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
– Fine salt
– Fifteen-ounce can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained and rinsed
– Eight ounces medium or short dried pasta, such as trottole, cavatappi or fusilli
In a large bowl, stir together the tomatoes, olive oil, capers, mustard, Italian seasoning, black pepper and red pepper flakes until combined.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Add the beans and cook until warmed through, two to three minutes. Using a strainer or slotted spoon, transfer the beans to the tomato mixture and stir to combine.
Return the water to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
Drain the pasta, add it to the tomato mixture and stir to combine. Taste, and season with more salt and/or pepper, as desired. Serve, or let cool for about 30 minutes, cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.