Place the beans in a large pot and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, covered, until the beans are creamy inside, but not mushy, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain beans and transfer to a large bowl to cool. Cook shells in rapidly boiling salted water. When done, drain in a colander, then spread shells on a cookie sheet to allow steam to escape. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil. When cool, combine pasta with the pinto beans. Add peppers. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss gently to combine.
To roast chiles and peppers: Place over a gas flame or on a tray under a broiler. Keep turning so that the skin is evenly charred, without burning and drying out the flesh. Transfer charred peppers to a plastic or paper bag, tie the top closed and allow to steam until cool to the touch, about fifteen minutes. (To speed things up, place bag in a bowl of ice water.) Peel the peppers by hand, then dip the them briefly in water to remove any blackened bits.
c.1996, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved
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