Eats, Shoots & Reads

Eats #34: Hit and Miss

Ingredients: [Pasta] 200g tipo 00 flour, 2 large eggs, fresh basil, fresh flat leaf parsley. [Butternut Squash] 1 medium butternut squash, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 dried red chillies, 1 fresh red chilli, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, parmesan cheese, olive oil, unsalted butter.

Difficulty: 3/5
Rating: 2/5

Make a basic pasta dough by mixing the flour and eggs and combining into a ball. Knead the dough until silky and smooth and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is in the fridge bash the cumin seeds, fennel seeds and dried chillies in a pestle and mortar before adding the cinnamon.

Halve and de-seed the butternut squash and chop into large chunks. Drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle with the spice mix.

Place the butternut squash into a roasting dish, cover with tinfoil and cook for 40 minutes.

While the butternut squash is cooking roll out the pasta into rectangles. Take 2 pieces of pasta and sandwich the basil and parsley between the sheets pressing the edges firmly together – put to one side until ready to cook.

When the butternut squash is cooked transfer to a saucepan and bash with a wooden spoon until it resembles baby food, season if necessary.

Boil a large pan of salted water and cook the pasta for 3-4 minutes until soft. Drain and return to the pan with a knob of butter and grated parmesan cheese.

Pile the butternut squash and pasta in alternating layers and sprinkle with parmesan and fresh chilli – serve!

Review

What can I say about this weeks recipe, it’s certainly interesting and shows lots of promise but the reality is hit and miss…

You take a bite and you’re taste buds are wow’d by lots of flavours and you think, “you know what, this isn’t that bad” but then a second mouthful you’re not so sure.

I think fundamentally the problem with this recipe is the sweetness of the butternut squash. although tasty, after a few mouthfuls it becomes sickly and unpleasant. The recipe also has too much going on, cumin, fennel, chillies, cinnamon – the flavours overpower the taste and freshness of the butternut squash with a dry kick that doesn’t quite work.

The pasta was once again too thick (which I know is down to not using a pasta machine and is ultimately my fault) and the stodginess wasn’t that pleasant.

Despite not being keen on the flavours of the butternut squash I liked the idea of roasted squash and I’d definitely try that again… perhaps just with salt, peeper and fresh herbs.

The only real winner with this recipe was the idea of a de-constructed lasagne and that’s definitely something I’d like to do again – perhaps a more traditional approach with mozzarella, ragu and pasta.

I wouldn’t personally do this recipe again but if you like the sound of it and have a sweeter tooth than me why not give it a go!

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