Lemony Green Bean Pasta Salad

Summer means plenty of picnics, cook-outs, and pool parties, and one of my favorite dishes to share for summer gatherings is pasta salad.  I'm on a roll with Southern Living recipes lately and this one is no exception.   I've already made it twice in the past week and everyone who has tried it has LOVED it!  It is the perfect light and flavorful summery pasta salad and the perfect opportunity to use fresh in-season green beans. This recipe is also super easy to make and you can put it together in about 15-20 minutes.  I've included all your ingredients and step-by-step instructions below:

12 ounces casarecce (or penne) pasta

1/2 pound green beans

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

5 teaspoons lemon zest

1/4 cup finely chopped roasted salted pistachios, plus more for topping

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced shallots

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons table salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups loosely packed arugula

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Trim the ends off of all your green beans and cut them in half.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions and throw the green beans into the boiling water for the last 2 minutes.

3. Drain your pasta and green beans and rinse with cold water. 

4. Add pasta, green beans, thyme, and 3 tsp. lemon zest to a large bowl and toss together.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup pistachios, white wine vinegar, olive oil, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tsp. lemon zest.  

6. Pour this oil and vinegar mixture over your pasta mixture and toss to coat.

7.  Top with arugula, some extra chopped pistachios, and Parmesan cheese.

Yum! The oil, vinegar, and spices add just the right amount of flavor while still keeping this dish super light and fresh tasting.  I LOVE this "casarecce" pasta and it is one of my new favorites for any kind of pasta dish.  It has a slightly firm texture but still really soaks up all of the flavors of the dressing.  I especially like the crunch that the green beans and pistachios add, as well as the contrasting bright, peppery flavor of the arugula.  The lemon zest adds just the right touch of citrus without being super overpowering.  I hope you love this dish as much as we did- plan on getting plenty of requests for it after you share with your friends!