This pasta recipe gets a flavor boost from sun-dried

Pasta Salad With Sun-Dried Tomatoes and White Beans

Total time:20 mins

Servings:4 to 6 (about 6 cups)

Total time:20 mins

Servings:4 to 6 (about 6 cups)

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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.

Easy pantry recipes for quick and thrifty meals

“Sun-dried tomatoes themselves are a product of the Mediterranean region, mainly southern Italy,” Priya Krishna writes 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 flavor in the tomatoes, so sun drying became a widespread technique.”

An article on sun-dried tomatoes appeared in The Post in 1983 declaring them “all the rage” in the United States. They maintained that status for the next couple of decades, showing up in food publications and on restaurant menus across the country.

“They were ubiquitous for cooks during the 1990s, which led ultimately to their downfall,” Evan Kleinman writes in the Los Angeles Times, as the once beloved ingredient reached a level of popularity that it became passe. However, just like any other trend, there are those who believe that sun-dried tomatoes should have never gone out of style.

“Roll your eyes all you want, but like clunky-soled boots, Christian Slater films, and ripped fishnets, these ’maters transcend the haters,” Kat Kinsman writes in Food & Wine.

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.

Quality over quantity: How to throw together a spectacular pasta salad

If a chewy, leathery texture is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of sun-dried tomatoes, you’re likely buying the wrong kind: be sure to look for those packed in oil for more tender tomatoes, instead of the dry-packed ones.

In this recipe, the tomatoes are mixed with capers, stone-ground mustard, olive oil and seasonings for a punchy dressing. Crushed red pepper flakes lend just a touch of spice — which I love — but those averse to it can use less or omit it. Lastly, white beans add creaminess, a hint of earthiness and filling protein, meaning this pasta salad is also hearty enough to be a main dish.

Pasta Salad With Sun-Dried Tomatoes and White Beans

Make Ahead: The pasta salad can be made up to 1 day in advance. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

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  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Fine salt
  • One (15-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 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, if using, until combined. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Add the beans and cook until warmed through, 2 to 3 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.

Per serving (1 cup), based on 6

Calories: 296; Total Fat: 12 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 149 mg; Carbohydrates: 41 g; Dietary Fiber: 8 g; Sugar: 1 g; Protein: 9 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Recipe from staff writer Aaron Hutcherson.

Tested by Aaron Hutcherson; email questions to [email protected].

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