The recipe calls for dried beans that are simmered before and with the rest of the ingredients, but canned beans will work, too. The directions for the canned bean version will follow the main recipe.
1 lb dried pinto or cranberry beans (or use what you have); OR 3 cans beans
3 quarts water; or 6 c broth or water for canned beans version
1 c chopped (canned) (plum) tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 c celery leaves OR 1 t celery seeds
large pinch of dried oregano
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large winter squash
salt, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1. In a large bowl, cover the dried beans with 2-inches of water and let them soak overnight. Or, place beans in a large soup pot, cover with water by 2-inches, bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, take off heat, cover, and let sit for one hour.
2. Drain and rinse beans. Add 3 quarts water and bring to a simmer, skimming as necessary to remove the foam that rises to the surface. Cook the beans over low heat until almost tender, one hour. Add the tomatoes, garlic, celery leaves or seeds, oregano, and 1/4 c of the olive oil. Continue cooking until the beans are very tender, up to 1-1/2 hours longer.
3. Meanwhile, pierce squash a couple of times. Place the squash on a baking sheet in a 350ºF oven and bake until tender, about an hour. When cool enough to handle, halve, scoop out seeds, remove flesh from skin, and coarsely chop. Or leave skin on, and coarsely chop up the squash. You can also cut the raw squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and put the halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Add a splash of water to the baking sheet and bake until tender.
4. Next, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 c olive oil. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat until softened, but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the squash and heat through.
5. When the beans are done, stir in the onion-squash mixture. Season with salt and red pepper flakes, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Canned Beans Version: In the large soup pot, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Sauté the onions as above. Add undrained beans, 6 cups broth or water, tomatoes, garlic, celery leaves or seeds, oregano, cooked squash, salt, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes. Drizzle servings with the remaining 1/4 c of oil.