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Chill out with lemony pasta salad

Recipe: Green beans, simple dressing keep salad light

Pasta salad in green bowl
Crunchy, smooth, zesty and cool: It's green bean
and lemon pasta salad. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

So here we are again, in "I don't want to turn on the stove" season. But we still have to eat. And fresh vegetables are so wonderful this time of year, the last of the spring produce overlapping with the first summer varieties.

This pasta salad, adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, fits the bill for a light dinner side dish without too much cooking. Adjust the ingredients to suit personal tastes. Add some sliced grilled chicken or diced ham for an entree salad that keeps things cool.

Green bean and lemon pasta salad

Serves 4-6, easily doubled


6 to 8 ounces fresh green beans, yellow wax beans, or a combination

Coarse salt

8 to 12 ounces curvy dried pasta, such as cellentani, orecchiette or elbow macaroni

Grated zest of 1 lemon (Meyer or tart)

Juice of 1 large or 2 medium lemons (Meyer or tart)

Garlic scapes on a white cutting board
Garlic scapes are the flower stalks of hardneck garlic.

3/8 cup or more extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic scapes, trimmed and thinly sliced, or 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion or sliced chives

2 tablespoons, or more, toasted almonds, pine nuts or walnuts, finely chopped

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Mixed baby greens, for serving, optional


Prepare an ice-water bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and adding enough water to float the ice.

Bring a 4-quart pot of salted water to boil. Trim the green beans and cut into 2-inch pieces. Blanch the green beans about 4 minutes, just until tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beans from the boiling water and add them to the ice-water bath to cool, then remove them to another bowl and reserve. Do not drain the boiling water from the pot on the stove.

Dressing being poured
Drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Add the dried pasta to the boiling water and cook just to al dente texture. Drain the pasta, then spread it on a large rimmed baking sheet. Put the pan in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes, to cool the pasta, but not so long that the pasta becomes very cold. (The dressing will be absorbed better if the pasta is still room temperature.) Transfer the cooled pasta to the preferred serving dish, and stir in the green beans.

Whisk together the lemon juice, zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Season with black pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Taste; adjust seasonings.

Drizzle about half of the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Sprinkle the sliced scapes or chopped onion or chives over the pasta, followed by about half of the nuts and half the Parmesan cheese. Add more dressing to taste. Toss again.

To serve as a first-course salad, place a handful of mixed baby greens on each salad plate and spoon the pasta salad over the greens. Top each salad with some of the remaining nuts and Parmesan.

Alternately, pass the serving bowl of pasta salad with the rest of the nuts and Parmesan sprinkled on top as garnish.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

Taste Spring! E-cookbook


Find our spring recipes here!