Niçoise-y Pasta Salad with Dilly Beans and Ditalini

SERVES: 4-6

This is a pasta salad of the 50/50 persuasion, meaning, it is 50 percent pasta and 50 percent other stuff, which is to say, the correct pasta salad ratio. The “other stuff” here is quickly blanched and chilled green beans, OLIVE-oil packed tuna (the highest quality you can possibly find!), and boiled eggs. All the hits of the niçoise salad, but lose the lettuce.

Active Time: 35 Mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 6.34.33 PM

Produce

  • 1 lb green beans or wax beans
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch dill

Pantry

  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups ditalini pasta or other tiny pasta
  • 1 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives
  • ¾ cup jarred pickled jalapenos (plus their brine), plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 5-oz cans high-quality olive oil-packed tuna

Protein

  • 4 large eggs

1. Do some prep:

  • Trim the ends of 1 pound green beans.
  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil (seasoned for pasta).
  • Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.

2. Boil and shock some stuff:

  • When the water boils, add 1 ½ cups ditalini and give it a stir. After about 1 minutes of boiling, lower 4 large eggs into the water along with the pasta. Set a timer for 9 minutes. (This way, the ditalini will cook for 10 minutes, and the pasta for 9. If you’re using a different pasta shape, cook according to package instructions. If the pasta calls for 7 minutes of cook time, you’ll add your eggs in first–2 minutes in advance.) Once the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon or spider to scoop out the pasta and eggs and transfer them to the ice bath to cool.
  • When the water returns to a boil, add another big handful of salt and then the prepped green beans. Green beans need more salt in the water than pasta does, so this is why we season the water in two stages. Set a timer for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, taste the beans–if they are tender but snappy, transfer them to the ice bath along with the pasta and eggs. If still quite crunchy, boil another minute or two and shock in the ice when ready.

3. Make the dressing:

  • To a food processor or mini prep, add 1 ½ cups pitted Castelvetrano olives and 3 tablespoons of their olive brine, ¾ cup sliced pickled jalapenos and ½ cup of pickled jalapeno brine, and ⅓ cup olive oil.
  • Finely grate two large garlic cloves right into the food processor. Pulse until a pesto-like consistency forms. Taste and add more salt or brine as needed until it starts to taste really good and vibrant.

4. Assemble:

  • Set the eggs aside. Drain the ice bath, shaking off as much water as possible from the pasta and beans. Add the pasta and beans to a large bowl.
  • Coarsely chop 1 small bunch of dill and add it to the bowl along with all of the olive dressing. Toss well to ensure everything is well coated.
  • Peel the eggs, and tear or chop them into bite sized pieces, adding to the bowl as you go.
  • Crack open 2 5-ounce cans of high quality oil packed tuna. Taste the oil–if it’s delicious, drain it off and save it for drizzling later on. If it doesn’t taste good (typically less appealing when it’s not packed in extra virgin olive oil), discard the oil. Add the tuna to the bowl in large chunks. Season everything again with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper and toss again lightly to combine. Transfer to a serving platter and scatter more sliced pickled jalapenos over the salad to finish. Drizzle with the reserved tuna oil, or more olive oil before serving.

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