Tortelli di Zucca
I posted this recipe in alt.binaries.food answering a request for squash
recipes, and now, since I already translated all that, why not post it on
RFC also? Here it is.
This is the old recipe by an ancestor from Mantova my mother uses, a
recipe where some finely crushed ameretti get in the filling. Not everybody
is still using amaretti but I think they are fundamental in this recipe.
This is how we make them in my family
TORTELLI DI ZUCCA
1 lb butternut squash
1 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese
nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons minced lard
very few tomato paste
sfoglia all'uovo (flour and egg dough)
Cut the squash in half and seed, place on a baking sheet and bake for 30
minutes circa, or until soft, at 350°F (180°C). Let cool a bit and scoop the
flesh into a bowl: add the eggs, 1 cup of grated parmigiano, nutmeg, salt
and pepper and mix all well.
Roll the dough with a rolling pin or a pasta machine up to a thickness of
2mm, not thinner since we'll have to manipulate it afterwards. Cut the
thinned dough in 12cm (almost 5") wide ribbons on a lightly floured
Here many choose to cut the dough in squares and then load them with some
mix, whereas others will first place the squash mix on the dough and only
after that they'll cut the dough into squares. I usually go the second way,
but any way you choose the basics remain the same: put a generous dollop of
mixture on each square and ply the dough as an envelope with the mixture
inside. If the dough dried a bit up, pass a wet finger on the borders of the
dough prior to closing the tortelli, this will help them close well. To
further strenghten the closing, use the pins of a fork to push on the border
where the dough overlaps itself.
As the tortelli get ready, move them onto a slightly floured porous surface,
like wood or a carboard plateau (this is used for cappelletti/tortellini
instead of tortelli but the plateau is what matters here
Many people dress tortelli with butter and sage, but for tortelli di zucca
my area has developed another dressing: soffritto di battuto di lardo, which
can be translated as "knife-minced lard sautee". The best lard for this is
the fat from a well aged Parma ham, but one can also use other kinds of
lardo such as the minced herbed lard from Modena, Lard d'Arnad, Lardo di
Colonnata or similar other products.
In a skillet put the butter and the minced lard, slowly sautee for 10
minutes circa adding a very small bit of tomato paste at the last minute,
it's almost only for color. This is very basic but one can also add some
wine to deglaze, or herbs if the lard isn't already herbed, or garlic as I
Bring a large pan of water to a boil along with two tablespoons of salt.
Cook the tortelli until they are tender: if they are fresh made this can
take just two minutes, if they have been made the day before this time can
get up to three or four minutes. Don't drain them like pasta, you would
damage them: use a schiumarola (skimmer) like this to remove them from the
water, usually 2 to 4 at a time:
This could seem cumbersome but it's tied to the way dishes are filled: you
catch 2 to 4 tortelli with the skimmer and put them on a dish, then you go
on with the next dish. This is the moment when the assistant, and in my
childhood that was me, starts dressing the first tortelli you just put in
the first dish, spreading some soffritto and then some grated parmigiano.
This assistant then moves on to the next dish with not-yet dressed tortelli.
This way each dish gets two or three layers of dressing instead of one.
Did I say tortelli are not a light dish?
We use the same dish filling technique with tortelli verdi, too, here the
main dressing is sage flavored butter, along with the inevitable grated