This fall-inspired pasta dish is filled with sweet, spicy, and buttery delicious flavor.
orecchiette with squash chiles and hazelnuts

Road trips, especially those where one ends up stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike Extension for an hour with little to no forward movement and a very narrow window of time in which one must traverse the 100+ miles between New York City and Wilmington, Delaware, require caffeinated beverages with all the frills.

And that, my friends, is how I lost my pumpkin spice latte virginity this weekend.


With Pink Floyd and/or Led Zeppelin and/or Elton John blasting in the background (the.boy’s road trip music of choice), I took that first naive, hopeful, expectant sip.

And it was good? Okay?

I don’t know. It’s probably my fault for building it up for this long. But the whole thing was a bit underwhelming. I think I’ll just stick to eating my fall flavors from now on.

Case in point. This here pasta is the first dish I’ve made this fall featuring butternut squash, and it was a mouthful. Of awesome.

Caramelized roasted squash tossed with nutty hazelnuts, a hint of spice, and cute little pasta ears. All in a buttery sauce. Without the butter.


Yes. It’s the real deal.

STAR Fine Foods sent me a bottle of their new Butter Flavored Olive Oil to try and it is perfect in dishes like this where you want that rich buttery flavor, but without all the saturated fat. Β This olive oil, which still contains all the health benefits of consuming regular olive oil, is kind of a win/win situation in that sense. And since we know we’ll all be eating our weight in pumpkin baked goods soon, it’s perhaps best if we save our butter allowance for those situations and leave our dinner sauces in the hands of the healthier fat.

Disclosure: While I received a bottle of STAR Fine Foods Butter Flavored Olive Oil for free, I was not given any sort of monetary compensation, and my thoughts and opinions on the product, as always, are my own.

PicMonkey Collage

Two years ago…Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce, Johnny Appleseed Bars

Three years ago…Murgh Korma

Four years ago…Sachertorte, Coco-Peanut Butter Noodle Salad

Orecchiette with Squash, Chiles and Hazelnuts
This fall-inspired pasta dish is filled with sweet, spicy, and buttery delicious flavor.
Yield: 6 servings
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts
  • 1 lb orecchiette
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½" pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes, divided
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter or 4 tbsp butter-flavored olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbsp torn fresh mint
  • black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and let roast for about 5 minutes, tossing halfway. Let cool. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  2. Set up the pasta water to boil and cook according to package directions, reserving a cup of water.
  3. Toss the butternut squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until tender.
  4. Heat the butter or butter-flavored olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add in the garlic and saute until just turning brown. Add in ½ cup cooking water. Stir and reduce until it forms a glossy sauce.
  5. Toss together the pasta, squash, and sauce in a large bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, parmesan, half of the mint and the remaining red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve topped with the hazelnuts and remaining mint.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅙th of recipe


Share →

90 Responses to Orecchiette with Squash, Chiles and Hazelnuts

  1. Christine says:

    Just bought a bag of orecchiette and a butternut! Will be making this in the coming weekend. Thanks so much!

  2. Yummy! This is exactly the kind of pasta dish I’ve been dying for!

  3. ramblingtart says:

    That looks absolutely scrumptious, Joanne, light yet hearty enough for cooler weather. πŸ™‚

  4. I love butternut squash in the fall. Looks delicious!

  5. What a perfect dish to welcome the fall season! And I’ve never heard of butter-flavored olive oil. Gotta check that out!

  6. Lynn says:

    I don’t like pumpkin flavored coffee house beverages. Or any flavoring ever, for that matter. πŸ™‚ Butter flavored olive oil – I’m intrigued!

  7. Colynn says:

    I agree with you. Pumpkin spice lattes are good, but I’d also rather eat fresh, Fall foods. That orecchiette looks awesome! I love the combination of flavors you used. This is a must-try for sure. Being dairy-free and all, I’m also going to have to get my hands on some of that olive oil. πŸ™‚

  8. Joanne,
    This fall dish looks perfect, and delicious!! Great post, once again. Thank you for sharing this!!

  9. I hope it was Elton John in the background. I have a weird love of Elton!

  10. Love, love, love this. And here is a secret – I’ve never had a PSL… shh! I’m with you, I’d rather eat my pumpkin (though I do like pumpkin flavored coffee)!

  11. My kind of pasta, Joanne. Looks mouthwatering!

  12. Love this recipe – I just posted a butternut squash pasta on my blog.

  13. That is a very pretty plate of food!

  14. Honestly, PSLs are totally overrated. I’m much more about the caramel macchiatos. Or buttery non-buttery pastas like this yumness. That sounds way more up my alley.

  15. Hey!! Great new layout, I love it, looks gorgeous!!
    And this recipe, just yummy πŸ˜‰ I want to make it, but it’s like 3 pm and I have just had lunch πŸ™
    Have a nice week!

  16. Erica says:

    That pasta looks so delicious,Joanne! Love all those flavors…What a wonderful recipe!

  17. sandra says:

    I am still the virgin of the pumpkin latte variety. I was never inspired to take that plunge somehow. I hope you got where you wanted to go in the time you needed to… traffic sucks.

  18. I couldnt resist and gave in to my pumpkin latte craving too this weekend πŸ™‚ that butter olive oil sounds great, I have been seeing it on couple other blogs too. WIll def keep that in my mind next time I am at the store. and that pasta- dont even.

  19. You get 5 stars on your chart for adding “texture” to the pasta.
    I LOVE when people do this; it adds a nice something-something. lol

  20. Shannon says:

    love anything with little ears! orechiette, i mean πŸ™‚

  21. I love hazelnuts with pasta, it’s such a nice combination.

  22. Monica says:

    Love the combination of hazelnuts with the squash. I bought a butternut squash a few days ago thinking about maybe soup…but now you’ve got me thinking pasta!

  23. What a pretty way to introduce pumpkin season. Love the simplicity of the dish.
    I need to get orcchiette…so cute.

  24. SallyBR says:

    Orecchiette is my favorite pasta shape… And if Fall must fall upon us (what a phrase!) I guess it’s best to accept it and celebrate with a recipe just like this one… winner!

    (just back from a 7 hour road trip… glad it’s over!)

  25. Pam says:

    Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd are the best to listen to on a road trip! I like the pumpkin lattes but with only half the syrup so it’s more subtle and not so sweet.

    The pasta looks comforting and so delicious. YUM.

  26. I’ve been wanting to try orecchiette for forever. It’s such a fun shape! And I love the hazelnut addition in this recipe!!

  27. Megan says:

    I’m so ready to eat tons of fall pasta dishes like this! The butter-flavored olive oil sounds really good! I’m not a fan of the PSL either… but I did try the new chocolate chai tea latte and was pleasantly surprised. It has a nice kick to it.

  28. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin spice lattes. They are just too damn sweet! I will happily stick to eating my fall flavors (except for pumpkin beer that is!) This is a lovely recipe my dear!

  29. This looks absolutely scrumptious, Joanne! I’m so whishing we could get that oil here! x

  30. Whaaaa…butter flavored olive oil?!?! I cannot wait to get my hands on a bottle of this.

  31. Oooh, love that you used the butter-flavored olive oil in this! It sounds amazing with those hazelnuts. i love squash!!!

  32. I finally cooked with butternut squash this weekend. I must say, I’m loving it. And Star Fine Foods gets a major high-five for the butter olive oil. Simply brilliant.

  33. Kate says:

    You know I’m a big pumpkin fan – but the pumpkin drinks are starbucks are really just meh. In truth, they’re some of the best drinks starbucks makes, but that’s not saying much. Pumpkin lattes from other establishments might be a better way to go.

  34. BaaaHaaaa! You always have me laughing out loud like a dork…. in a good way ;}
    You always have the best flavor combo’s going on girl!

  35. You seriously make the best meals!!! This looks sensational!

  36. Amy says:

    The.Boy has good taste in music! I’m loving my butter-flavored olive oil, too. I’ve used it in a few dishes now. Winner. Although nothing with butternut squash. YET.

  37. CCU says:

    Pretty and utterly delicious πŸ˜€


  38. cassie says:

    I had butternut squash for the first time this fall on Friday and it left me wanting more! I love this dish, Joanne!

  39. Dude, I’m not really into PSL’s either. I totally tried too…buuuut no. I DO like this though. I wish we lived in the same city so bad sometimes….we shall cook for each other one day. I just know it!

  40. Monet says:

    Hi Joanne! This looks delicious. I fell in love with butternut squash last fall. I’ve yet to use it this season, but now I need to go out and buy one. This looks too good!

  41. This is such a festive Fall meal, I’m loving it! I have some family in town this week and this would be just the perfect meal for us to enjoy! Thanks!

  42. Christina says:

    I’m going to keep my pumpkin spice lattΓ© virginity and just eat this pasta πŸ™‚

  43. Abby says:

    Seriously, I want to eat every post. On the pumpkin latte topic…I’m not a big coffee lover but Dunkin’s pumpkin latte is on point! haha. I prefer it to the ‘bucks. πŸ™‚

  44. I can’t form a sentence this looks so good…so I’ll just say: Want. Now.

  45. I caved on my intention to avoid Starbucks while in the US when I tried my first pumpkin spiced latte last week too. I did like it, but it wasn’t love. I’d rather my pumpkin in this form as well!

  46. This is the perfect fall meal! Butternut squash always finds it’s way in my grocery basket mysteriously around this time.

  47. The best part about the season change is the wardrobe change…wait, I mean menu change. Either way, it always feels so good to mix things up. Beautiful dish.

  48. Butter flavored olive oil…I think I can die happy! Need to get my hands on this!

  49. Sues says:

    Yayyy for squash season! I love that there’s a bit of spice in here, too. Perfection!

  50. Reeni says:

    I can’t wait to get my hands on a butternut! This is making me squeal a little on the inside! It’s gorgeous! Starbucks is totally overrated – I’d rather eat my pumpkin too.

  51. Will this be my first butternut squash dish of the season? I think so!

    I love that butter-olive oil! Now I’ve got another use for it πŸ˜‰

  52. haha… i had a salted caramel latte this weekend, had the pumpkin spice last week. so good. it never gets old. this is unique… never had anything like this, I can imagine the sweet and spicy flavors.

  53. Butter with pasta is the best thing ever. Come to think of it, butter with anything is good!

  54. Emily L says:

    I am totally ready for fall and all things butternut squash related!! I also made your sweet potato and corn bisque today for dinner and it was perfect for the chilly Chicago weather!

  55. I’m intrigued by how they get the butter flavour into the oil?

  56. glorious pasta with squash and hazelnuts…love how all these ingredients work so well together for celebrating fall πŸ™‚

  57. debbie says:

    I love this dish. Another one to add to my growing list of new recipes to try for fall. I am addicted to mochas and lattes. Love them! I feel your pain about sitting in traffic. I do it here all the time on I-95 in Virginia. Worst traffic in the world. I travel the NJ Turnpike quite a bit since I have family on Long Island and love all the rest areas with the restaurants (even though it’s awful fast food), but there is a Starbucks!!!!

  58. Sam says:

    I agree with you about the PSLs. They’re good, but they’re not *that* good. Also, the fact that they show up in late August kind of bothers me. I am intrigued by all of the “make your own PSL syrup” pins on Pinterest.

    Pasta looks amazing! You really can’t go wrong with winter squash and pasta.

  59. Tahnycooks says:

    I would seriously embarrass myself if I had a bowl of this in front of my face! I would have to force myself to slow down I am passionate about butternut squash I absolutely love it!

  60. Johanna GGG says:

    Pumpkin latte on the new jersey turnpike sounds quite romantic to me – like a scene from a movie – but sorry to hear the reality is just not quite so glam – glad the squash came through for you with pasta – just proves food is always better at home

  61. Kathryn says:

    The flavours in this sound total incredible – love those hazelnuts in there. This really does sound like the perfect fall dish!

  62. I just made my first winter squash of the season last week, and sipped on my first pumpkin coffee of the fall too. I’m so excited for more of both to come!

  63. I love hazelnuts so much! The olive oil sounds really interesting too!

  64. cquek says:

    gorgeous thanks for sharing

  65. Juliana says:

    This pasta dish looks fabulous…I like the creamy pumpkin together with the crunchy hazelnut…beautiful.
    Have a wonderful week Joanne πŸ˜€

  66. tigerfish says:

    I like the addition of hazelnuts in this pasta dish. Seems to go well with the buttery squash flavors.

  67. Hotly Spiced says:

    I’ve heard it’s a battle getting out of New York. It seems there’s always traffic at a standstill – at least that’s how the movies present it! I love the look of your pasta. A simple meal that everyone in this house would thoroughly enjoy xx

  68. Joanne, you had me at Orecchiette, and then you said Squash, Chiles, and Hazelnuts. Wow, this dish has all my favorite fall ingredients. Running out to buy butternut squash. πŸ™‚

  69. This dish looks absolutely delicious! Such a flavorful combination. It sounds wonderful. I love that pasta shape – I don’t think I’ve ever tried it before.
    Pinning this recipe! πŸ™‚

  70. gloria says:

    aaah ! look awesome and delicious!!

  71. I can’t believe you’d never had a pumpkin spice latte! I can totally see how it would have been too built up to meet your expectations though. I like them but more for the fact that they symbolize fall than anything else! I do like roasted butternut squash more and this pasta looks awesome!

  72. Chris says:

    You were the one who finally got me to try butternut squash, but it’s been a while since I’ve had it (last November to be exact). This recipe kind of got me thinking about something weird, like a butternut and chile soup but I’m not sure about what type of chile. Maybe something mild like a charred poblano.

  73. P says:

    I haven’t heard about orecchiette until now, but it looks so adorable and delicious! I love how the squash is cut up into cute lil’ cubes as well.

    I get the feeling that many bloggers think the PSL is underwhelming/not very good. I’m not a frequent Sbux drinker, but I don’t think I’ll drift from chai green tea lattes anytime this fall πŸ˜›

  74. I love the combination on butternut squash and pasta, sounds yummy.

  75. just when I think you can’t get any better you come out with this dish> really girl? really? DELISH!

  76. One thing that definitely makes a recipe like this even better is if you go get the veggies at a local farmer’s market. Especially if you go later, get some amazing stuff for a fraction of the cost.

    And man I remember what you mean about the Turnpike….terrible during the winter months!

  77. I haven’t made butternut squash this season yet but I think I’ll have to make an emergency grocery run tomorrow so I can make this! This definitely screams fall!

  78. I love orecchetti. the combo of hazelnuts and pumpkin works for me. I see you have butter flavoured olive oil. Not sure about that!!! A friend of mine is in the US at the moment and sent me a picture of twitter of butter flavoured olive oil and we were amazed…..

  79. Jessie says:

    You had me at “sweet, spicy, and buttery”! This dish looks so darned delicious, especially with those hazelnuts (which, in my opinion, should be in more dishes!) I agree with you on the pumpkin latte – no matter how tasty it is, I’d rather be chewing my winter squashes and veggies πŸ™‚

  80. Looks sensational Joanne! Love the squash and red pepper flakes here. Delicious! I can eat a big bowl of this. πŸ™‚

  81. Orecchiette pasta is one of my favorite pastas. I always think it’s weird to have a favorite pasta but it’s kinda all the same right? πŸ˜‰
    This definitely has Fall time written all over it! Love, love, love.
    Also, I just started to follow you on twitter. πŸ™‚

  82. I’ve never had a pumpkin latte before. Heck I’ve never had a latte. I don’t even drink coffee haha. But I love this pasta, especially the hazelnuts.

  83. Ashley says:

    I would MUCH rather eat this than drink a PSL… especially if it meant standing in line for the bathroom at Starbucks for an hour πŸ˜‰

  84. orecchiette is my favorite pasta shape. It’s so fun to eat! Loving it with squash here. I have plans to stuff acorn squash with it later this week!

  85. Tina Jui says:

    Sounds delicious! Great choice for the first butternut squash recipe of the year!

  86. Courtney says:

    This is gorgeous! I love the combination of flavors, and fall pastas are one of my weaknesses. Also, I like PSLs but find them to be kind of heavy on the flavor syrup. I have a homemade version that I prefer these days, but I still like getting one at the start of the season because it just feels like fall to me when I do.

  87. I wonder if macadamia oil would have a similar effect? Also, I am a Starbucks addict but I am not big on the pumpkin lattes either. And last, our trip from Fez to the Sahara was in the car of a pan who had The Wall playing on a tv next to his head and it totally traumatized me so the boy’s music would have to go for me lol…. The noodles look totally yummy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.