In my last post I had promised you a recipe to use up some of that beautiful Mostarda Mantovana that I showed you how to make. Well… here I am to keep my promise. Today’s recipe is yet another recipe from Mantova, in Lombardy and it is an honour for me to showcase it on Manu’s Menu. It is a very ancient recipe (it was originally invented in the 1500’s!) and one of the most traditional dishes of the area. In fact, it is so famous that everyone in Italy knows Tortelli di Zucca. This is not your everyday stuffed pasta. The filling is quite unusual and more on the sweet side rather than the savoury side. To the already sweet pumpkin, you add amaretti cookies (yes, sweet cookies!) and Mostarda Mantovana which is spicy, but also sugary. All this sweetness is well balanced by the saltiness of the Parmigiano Reggiano and the spiciness of Mostarda, so the dish works out wonderfully. I made these for the family and they were devoured. Even my little ones liked this dish and did not complain about “eating their veggies”. This is a good example of traditional Italian food and one that shows how linked to the territory Italian cuisine is. It was born as a poor man’s dish, using local produce (and has no meat, as that was an expensive item!) and is now one of the dishes that make Mantova proud. As proud as I am today to be able to show you how to make it in your own kitchen. Enjoy and check out my collection of Regional Italian dishes here.
Tortelli di Zucca – Pumpkin Tortelli
How to make Tortelli di Zucca - a 16th century pasta recipe from the Italian town of Mantova.
- 800 gms – 1 ¾ lbs. pumpkin weighed after being peeled
- 100 gms – 3.5 oz. amaretti cookies powdered
- 2 tbsp Mostarda Mantovana finely chopped
- 100 gms – 3.5 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano finely grated
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- Salt to taste
- 300 gms – 10.5 oz flour
- 3 eggs
- 80 gms – 5 ½ tbsp butter
- 6 sage leaves
- Salt and Pepper
- Parmigiano Reggiano finely grated
Cut the pumpkin and bake it in a preheated oven at 140°C – 285°F for 40 to 50 minutes, or until soft. Let it cool down.
Cut out the skin (you can also bake the pumpkin without the skin) and put the pumpkin in a bowl.
Add the powdered amaretti, mostarda, Parmigiano Reggiano, nutmeg and enough breadcrumbs to make a firm and workable filling.
Make the tortelli following my tutorial on How to make Ravioli or Tortelli.
Cook the tortelli following the steps on “How to cook pasta al dente”. Only in this case you will not have a pre set cooking time. This will vary on the thickness of your pasta (it should take approximately a couple of minutes to cook if you have just made the pasta. If a number of hours have passed since you made the pasta then it would be slightly dry and could take between 10 to 12 minutes to cook). So, the best solution is to taste it! Remember, to check the joint, where your pasta is thicker. It does have to remain firm to be al dente.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and put it in the pan with the butter and sage sauce. Mix well on low fire for a minute.
Serve hot with some thinly grated Parmigiano Reggiano on the top.