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Pumpkin Tortelli is a type of stuffed pasta originally from northern Italy.
The origin of pumpkin Tortelli, whose most famous variant is Mantuan Tortelli, is part of the ancient and popular culinary tradition of stuffed pasta of northern Italy. This tradition dates back to the low Middle Ages, whereas the first evidence of pumpkin as an ingredient is dated back to the end of 1500. The purpose of these preparations was to make a tasty and nutritious dish, with what little the peasant economy could provide.
Pumpkin Tortelli consists of egg pasta wrappers, usually rectangular shaped with a closed size of about 60 x 35 mm, filled with a mixture of baked or boiled pumpkin, amaretti, mostarda, grana cheese, and nutmeg. A flavorful and firm type of pumpkin of superior quality must be used—for example, the “Delica” or “Cappello del Prete” type of pumpkin.
It is rightly included among the traditional Italian food products and it is the symbol of the Mantuan cuisine, but it is also spread, with few variations, in the nearby provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Ferrara, and Cremona. The main characteristic of this dish is the combination of the sweet taste of pumpkin, with the salty flavor of grana cheese, the bitter-sweet of macaroons, and the spicy flavor of mostarda. Together with Tortelli Cremaschi, it is the only other stuffed pasta dish with a sweet taste in Lombardy. In the Piacentino area, there is a variant that has a filling without the characteristic amaretti and mostarda, made only with boiled pumpkin and mashed, parmesan cheese, and ricotta cheese.
In order to maintain the right balance between the different flavors, it is necessary to pay particular attention to the dosage and, maybe, for this reason, few and almost negligible are the variants which, during the centuries, have modified the composition of the filling. Ferrara’s recipe does not include the use of mostarda or amaretti, whereas Cremona’s one uses sweet mostarda.
200 g. 00 white flour
250 g. yellow pumpkin
40 g. macaroons
40 g. apple mustard
100 g. grated Parmesan cheese
50 g. peach almonds
uice of half lemon
a pinch of salt
a tablespoon of vino cotto
How to make the Tortelli Zucca Mantovani – Pumpkin ravioli:
Boil the pieces of pumpkin in a small amount of water; drain, remove the skin and pass through the sieve. Finely crush the macaroons, 30 g. of the almonds and the fruit mustard; add these to the pumpkin with the grated Parmesan and lemon juice; mix until obtaining a homogeneous paste. Meanwhile, prepare the pastry as usual.
Cut into squares and place a ball of stuffing on each and close as for agnoli. The tortelli di zucca mantovani are cooked in boiling water for 3-5 minutes then drained and dressed with melted butter and vino cotto. Then sprinkle tortelli di zucca mantovani with grated Parmesan and the remainder of the finely crushed peach almonds.
Recommended wine: Muller Thurgau; Franz Hans or Cantina Sociale Vall’Isarco
Recipe proposed by Carlo and Romano Tamani
Regional recipe from Lombardy