Monday, October 28, 2013

Pasta with butternut squash, broccoli and cranberry beans (guest post)

pasta with butternut squash, broccoli and cranberry beans

Hello fellow Ninja followers. Let me introduce myself. I am Sandra, and today we get to hang out together here in Julianne’s space. She was awesome enough to play a little blogger switch with me. That’s right, I am a fellow food blogger, but also a huge fan of The Ninj. I don’t have to tell you why she is so awesome because you frequent here regularly, too. The Ninj and I happened to connect the way most bloggers do, by chance. I quickly learned how cool she is by reading through a bunch of her recipes I found out we had a lot in common.

We like to cook. We like to can. We like to have fun. Not every food blogger is fun, believe me I know. We live a few states away, I’m in New Jersey, but I wish I lived in Vermont. I guess that doesn’t count. If we lived closer I’d like to think we would be friends that would hang out every so often. Hang out in a sense that I would raid her orchards the second she went grocery shopping. Like all good friends do, right? Seriously the Ninj is not only awesome, she is “I have fruit trees in my orchard” awesome! (I’d hit up the cherry tree first, who’s with me?)

pasta with butternut squash, broccoli and cranberry beans

So seriously now, why am I here? I’m here to share a recipe with you and actually, Jules is over at my site, Kitchen Apparel (, doing the same. A blog swap; a two-for-one special, today only. So after talking about it, we both agreed that we wanted to use the same ingredient. Something that would be seasonal, without being pumpkin. Are you overwhelmed with all those pumpkin recipes right now? I know I sure am. So we decided to go with the second most popular item on the list. I know, but butternut squash is spectacular. Sweet or savory, use it in any dish from breakfast to dessert. What is funny is that both of use came up with a pasta dish. Great minds think alike.

So along with my butternut squash with pasta, I felt like I needed to bring you something with bacon. We are mostly vegetarian over at Kitchen Apparel, so the chance to throw some bacon in something was way to tempting. I knew The Ninj would appreciate bacon, so fry it up nice and crispy and sprinkle it on, baby. This dish could most certainly work without it, but I’ll leave it up to you. Leave it in, trust me! If you are mostly vegetarian (like me) and are just not feeling carnivorous then Jules has the dish for you. Cheese. Lots of cheese. So head over to Kitchen Apparel ( and check it out. And thanks for hanging out with me today. I had fun, and I hope you enjoyed it too.

pasta with butternut squash, broccoli and cranberry beans
Pasta with Butternut Squash, Broccoli and Cranberry Beans
(recipe and photos by Sandra Kehoe)
Serves 2-4

1 onion, cut in half
1 bay leaf
4-5 black peppercorns
2 pounds of fresh cranberry beans, shelled
4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and Pepper
4 oz of sliced bacon
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 head of broccoli or 1 bunch broccoli rabe (whichever is available)
1 handful of your choice of pasta (I used a gluten-free rice pasta)

In a large saucepan place the onion, bay leaf and peppercorns. Fill the saucepan with just enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for 20 minutes. At this point add the beans and simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain the beans and place them in a bowl. Toss beans with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

While your beans are simmering cook the bacon in a large skillet, until crispy. Transfer the bacon onto paper towels to drain and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat. Save the extra fat and bacon for later. At this point you can sauté the butternut squash, in batches if necessary (using any remaining bacon fat for additional batches). Sauté the squash for 10 minutes or until it is cooked through and slightly browned. Transfer squash to a bowl and season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Prepare your pasta according to the directions on the package and set aside. In your skillet heat two tablespoons of olive oil and add the minced garlic. Sauté until it becomes brown and fragrant. Add the broccoli and sauté until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and squash to the skillet and continue to cook for about another minute. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss everything together. Turn the heat off and drizzle with one more tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Crumble up the reserved bacon to sprinkle on top, and serve warm.


  1. Wait, what's this I see?! Sandra... Kitchen Apparel... using... BACON?! My day just got a little bit brighter.

    1. was a special occasion Chris, don't get use to it ;)

    2. I know, right, Chris? And I did NOT use bacon in mine, which is even more special. :-) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. You and the Ninj clearly share a sense of humor! What are "cranberry beans?" Something I can find in Vermont...or only next door in New Jersey? ;-)

    1. Cranberry beans (I think) are only called that because of their pretty red striping. You can definitely find them in the grocery or natural foods market, even here in Vermont.

    2. Hi Jennifer, You can definitely find cranberry beans either dried at the store or fresh at a farmers market. In this recipe I used the fresh ones (they look like large red string beans... but when you open them up the beans are inside...really fun to do). If you can't find either then I'm sure a can of white beans (Cannellini beans) would work equally as good.

  3. I find every part of this dish (including the bacon!) mouthwatering. I just had lunch and I'm hungry all over again! Growing up in Montreal, we would drive through the Eastern Townships into Vermont and New Hampshire on our way to Maine every summer. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the world in my view (the drive is half the fun!). So many fond memories. I would be stealing the Ninj's crops too! Though we do have a few things growing here in CA ;-). Great swap ladies -- lots of fun to read both posts.