Kosher salt, as needed
8 ounces dried ditalini pasta
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 medium (4 ounces) zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
4 ounces green beans (ends trimmed), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 medium (4 ounces total) carrots, scrubbed well, then cut into generous 1/4-inch cubes (¾ cup)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/8 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup cooked, no-salt-added chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned)
3/4 cup cooked, no-salt-added Great Northern beans (drained and rinsed if using canned)
2 ounces sliced hard Italian salami, cut into generous 1/4-inch squares
3 tablespoons finely chopped, fresh basil, plus more for optional garnish
1 (6-ounce) tomato, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice, for garnish (optional)
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the ditalini and cook according to package directions. Use a slotted spoon/strainer to transfer pasta to a colander set in sink; rinse with cold water to cool immediately. Return pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium, nonstick saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the zucchini pieces and cook for 3 minutes; vegetable should still be firm. Remove from heat.
Prepare a bowl of water and ice.
Add the string bean pieces to pot of boiling water; cook for 3 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes — no longer. Immediately drain vegetables, then transfer them to ice-water bath. After 10 minutes, drain vegetables. Lay them out on paper towels or on a clean dish towel to dry.
In a large bowl, whisk remaining 5 tablespoons oil with the vinegars, oregano, mustard and sugar to form an emulsified dressing. Season lightly with salt and the pepper. Add the cooked pasta, zucchini-onion mix, carrots, green beans, chickpeas, Great Northern beans, salami and chopped basil; stir to incorporate.
Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl. If desired, garnish with the basil and diced tomato just before serving. Makes 12 servings (makes about 81/2 cups).
Minestrone Pasta Salad
Kosher salt, as needed