Tortelli di zucca – Pumpkin tortelli with butter and sage

Tortelli di zucca – Pumpkin tortelli with butter and sage

Autumn is here, bringing us great seasonal ingredients such as pumpkins and squash. So no better time to try this pumpkin tortelli recipe.

This ever so popular dish of stuffed egg pasta is original of Mantua in Lombardy.

The stuffing gets its peculiar taste thanks to the addition of amaretti biscuits and fruit mostarda.

Mostarda, not to be confused with mustard sauce, is, as far as I know, exclusively Northern Italian. It consists of pieces of assorted candied fruits – such as pears, apples, apricots, figs – in a sweet and spicy syrup flavoured with mustard seed oil.

To get the perfect texture for your stuffing, try to look for Mantua pumpkins.

I was lucky enough to find a variety called Delica in Natoora here in London, and although more pricey than the average pumpkin they have a truly great flavour and dense potato-like texture, which is perfect for mashing. Conversely, certain types of pumpkins and squash are far too watery, resulting in a too soft stuffing that risks melting when you boil the tortelli.

Traditionally, pumpkin tortelli are served with a topping of butter, sage and parmesan cheese, but I also love the version with basil and tomato sauce.

You can make a large batch and freeze them on a tray, then transfer to a food bag when completely frozen.

Tortelli di zucca – Pumpkin tortelli with butter and sage

Time

1 hour + overnight rest + 1 hour

Ingredients

For the egg pasta:

340 g all purpose white flour

60 g durum wheat flour

4-5 eggs

For the stuffing:

1 whole Mantua pumpkin (about 1.5 kg, or 300-400 g cooked, peeled and deseeded pulp)

50-60 g amaretti biscuits, crushed

1 egg

80-100 g fruit mostarda, thinly chopped

Half teaspoon nutmeg powder

50-60 g grated Parmesan

Salt to taste

For the dressing:

A dollop of butter

A few sage leaves

Grated Parmesan

Method

  1. Slice the pumpkin and place the slices on a tray covered with baking parchment. Transfer to the oven, pre-heated to 200C. Cook until soft, about 30-40 minutes. Remove and let it cool down.
  2. Remove the skin and the seeds from the cooked pumpkin, and place the pulp in a bowl. With a fork or a masher, reduce to a smooth puree.
  3. Add the crushed amaretti, thinly chopped mostarda, egg, nutmeg, grated Parmesan and salt and mix until well combined. Transfer to the fridge, covered with cling film and let it rest for a few hours, ideally overnight.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the egg pasta dough following the method here. Transfer to the fridge and let it rest.
  5. Once the rest time is finished, take the stuffing and the egg pasta dough from the fridge. Follow the method here to create the tortelli. Transfer to a floured tray or a tray covered with a cloth until you’re ready to cook them. You can also cover the tray with cling film and transfer to the fridge or freezer.
  6. In a pan, melt some butter and add a few sage leaves. Cook for a couple of minutes, until golden and remove from the heat.
  7. Boil the pumpkin tortelli for about 6-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pasta. Transfer to individual plates, top with a handful of grated parmesan and the sage butter to finish. Eat piping hot.

Tips

  • As a kid, I loved the leftover pumpkin tortelli with tomato sauce even more than the freshly boiled ones. Try letting them rest in a tray, dressed with the garlic, basil and tomato sauce, for a few hours in the fridge. Then re-heat them for a few minutes in the oven, until the edges of the tortelli have turned a bit brown and crunchy. Yum!