Rio pasta with squash, corn and black beans

Rio pasta recipe with squash, corn and black beans

This delicious and unusual pasta recipe is inspired by the Olympics, which are starting in under a fortnight in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It's estimated that around 15% of Brazilians are descended from Italian immigrants. As a result, Italian food is widely available in Brazil nowadays. But there's more to it than that. Food is so integral to Italian culture, so important, that the early Italian immigrants didn't just import pizza, pasta and risotto, they created a whole series of new dishes. Popular Brazilian dishes that were created by Italians include Galeto, Frango com polenta, several types of sausage and the amazing-sounding Chocotone (Panettone with chocolate chips). Source: Wikipedia.

For my Olympics-inspired meal I decided to create a vegetarian pasta dish using ingredients typically found in Brazil. Squash, corn, black beans, coriander and lime are all common in Brazilian cooking. But do they work with pasta? Well, yes, they do! I was so pleased with how this dish turned out - the flavours go really well together and it was lovely to eat pasta with an unusual flavour combination. I'm pretty sure I haven't had pasta with coriander before. But, how did this go down with the kids? Well, Baby S enjoyed his, Miss R ate the pasta and the corn and R was not at all keen. But us grown-ups gobbled it all up and had seconds!

Bertollini pasta with squash, corn and black beans

Bertollini pasta with squash, corn and black beans

I made this dish using Bertolli with butter. Celebrity chef Gennaro Contaldo and Bertolli have launched a limited edition pasta shape, known as The Bertollini, which is cone-shaped. It particularly appeals to me as it comes in three flavours: spinach, beetroot and egg. A lovely use of sneaky vegetables! To buy the cone shaped pasta visit Delicatezza. To see Gennaro's Bertollini pasta recipes go to

I was lucky enough to meet Gennaro Contaldo at a cooking demo put on by Bertolli. Gennaro invited members of the audience to pick ingredients for him to cook with. Watching him at work was amazing. In an hour he created five separate pasta sauces for the audience to try! It really was proof that creating delicious home-cooked food doesn't need to take a long time. 

Gennaro Contaldo demonstrates the Bertollini: a  new pasta shape from Bertolli

Gennaro Contaldo demonstrates the Bertollini: a  new pasta shape from Bertolli

Gennaro Contaldo creating a delicious vegetarian pasta dish in minutes

Gennaro Contaldo creating a delicious vegetarian pasta dish in minutes

Here's how to make my Brazilian-inspired pasta:

1 tbsp Bertolli with butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
350g butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1cm pieces (prepared weight)
150g sweetcorn, tinned, fresh or frozen
1 x 400g tin of black bean
50g chopped coriander (replace with parsley if you don't like coriander)
One lime, cut into wedges
300g dried pasta eg penne or 300g bertollini pasta
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pan of water to the boil.

Heat the Bertolli in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Once melted add the onion and cook, stirring frequently for 5-7 minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further minute.

If using dried pasta put the pasta into the pan and cook until al dente. The Bertollini pasta only takes a couple of minutes to cook so you can do this just before the sauce is cooked.

Add the butternut squash to the pan, along with a ladleful of cooking water from the pasta. Reduce the heat and cover, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until the squash is soft. 

Cook the bertollini pasta now if using.

Stir in the corn and black beans and warm through. If you're using fresh corn you may need to cook for a little longer and add a little more water.

Drain the pasta and mix with the vegetables. You can either stir the coriander through, or serve it at the table along with the lime wedges for people to help themselves.

Season to taste, or serve salt and pepper at the table for the adults to add if you're serving this to children too. 

Serves two adults and three children.

Rio pasta recipe with butternut squash, sweet corn and black beans. A delicious and simple vegetarian pasta dish to celebrate the Olympics

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post with Bertolli