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Penne with Charred Green Beans

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Be sure to char the beans; letting them blacken in spots adds a light smoky flavor.

  1. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  2. 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  3. 1 pound young green beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  4. 2 shallots, minced
  5. 1 large garlic clove, minced
  6. 1 tablespoon finely chopped summer savory or flat-leaf parsley
  7. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  9. 1 pound penne rigate
  10. 4 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled (about 1 cup)
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, toast the walnuts over high heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of the walnut oil to the skillet along with the beans and cook over high heat, stirring, until tender and blackened in spots, about 8 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the walnut oil, the shallots, garlic and summer savory and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the penne in the boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss with the green beans; stir in some cooking water if the pasta seems dry. Add the ricotta salata, toasted walnuts and the remaining 2 teaspoons of walnut oil; toss well and serve.
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