Southwestern pasta salad with avocado-serrano dressing

serves 4

Texture and flavor contrasts abound in this Southwestern-inspired salad. The buttery avocado helps to smooth the heat of the serrano chile in the dressing.
12 ounces penne pasta

1 serrano chile, seeded

1 large clove garlic

2 ripe Hass avocados

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil


1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and


1 small jicama, shredded

1 small red onion, chopped

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Salad greens, for serving

Put the pasta water on to boil. Cook the penne in the salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente, about 10 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, make the dressing: Mince the chile and garlic in a food processor. Halve and pit one of the avocados, scoop out the flesh with a spoon, and add it to the food processor. Add the lime juice and chili powder and process until smooth. Add the olive oil, and salt to taste; process until smooth.
When the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse it under cold water, then place it in a large bowl. Add the beans, jicama, onion, tomatoes, and parsley. Peel, halve, pit, and dice the remaining avocado and add it to the pasta salad. Pour on the dressing and toss gently to combine. Serve on salad greens.