Readers of The Bitten Word cooked every recipe in the September 2013 Bon Appetit magazine. Here's their take on Orecchiette with Squash, Chiles, and Hazelnuts.
Ayesha: I liked the dish overall (I'd give it 3/4 stars) but think it can use a few improvements. The proportion of squash to pasta was a little off. I would use the entire small butternut squash next time. Also, I couldn't really taste the chiles. I would up the amount to at least a tsp for some heat.
Netta: We have a teen that has given up all white flour so we prepared this with whole wheat orecchiette. When made with prepared pasta, this is a quick vegetarian entrée. The dish had a slightly unusual mix with mint, butternut squash, hazelnuts, Parmesan and red pepper flakes. Despite the interesting ingredients the resulting dish was a bit plain. If we make it again, we’ll substitute a good quality stock for the pasta water to enhance the flavors.
Sara: Despite typically associating hazelnuts and mint with dessert-only dishes, I was pleasantly surprised with how the two combined with the butternut squash for a well-balanced flavor. I would have preferred more heat from the red pepper flakes and will add more next time. If you opt to not make the pasta from scratch it is a very simple and quick dish to make (but I think the from-scratch pasta is worth it!).
Sarah: It's hard to go wrong with butternut squash, pasta, and Parmesan in any combination, and this recipe was no exception. The mint and lemon added just enough brightness to keep the dish from being too heavy, and the red pepper added a nice spice to keep things interesting. One note -- even in 1/2 inch cubes, the squash took much longer than the recipe indicates to fully cook on the stove top.
Casey: Sadly, I was not able to find fresh shaped pasta so I went with the dried version of the Orecchiette. I really enjoyed this dish, I usually only roast butternut squash so it was great to find a quicker way to prepare it. I also have never paired mint with butternut squash but the combination with the other flavors was great. I will definitely use the flavor profile and will most likely make this again.
Susan: These ingredients seemed mismatched, but came together beautifully, especially the freshness of the mint and crunch of the hazelnuts. It was definitely a crowd-pleaser, even for an avowed meat-eater. We made the orecchiette from scratch using the Rolf and Daughters recipe. We used all purpose flour instead of durum wheat flour. Per the recipe, we tried to mix the pasta in a stand mixer, but it did not come together. Luckily, with some elbow grease, the dry, crumbly dough transforms into a really great pasta dough. The texture is perfect for hand-shaped pastas (we did the orecchiette and the strozzapreti).
The April Blake: This is a great dish to enjoy pasta without using boring old red sauce yet again. The buttery sauce and the butternut squash combine beautifully with the tang of lemon and burst of mint to give it a memorable flavor that's hard to stop chowing down on.
Carolyn: Absolutely. Delicious. Not too hot, not too sweet. Most notable, in my opinion, is the mint in this dish. I find myself now wanting to add mint to everything. Do yourself a favor and make this. And make the pasta from scratch; use the link in the recipe. I needed a bit more water than the 2/3cup called for. Hit youtube for some great "nonna-recommended" orecchiette tutorials. It's a little tricky but well worth it. My only revision? Next time I'll use twice the squash -- I wanted more in comparison to the amount of pasta.
Get the Orecchiette with Squash, Chiles, and Hazelnuts recipe at Bon Appétit