Thursday, December 10, 2009
Which recipes could be better to prepare for the forthcoming festivities than a really traditional dish from the foggy plains of Emilia?
Pumpkin tortelli, or as they are called in the area between Bologna and Ferrara "Cappellacci di Zucca", are really a historical food: first mentions can be found in medieval sources of the XI century while “tortelli di zucca con il butirro” (pumpkin tortelli with butter) are included, pretty identical to how they're prepared today, in the cookbook “Dello Scalco” written by Giovan Battista Rossetti, cook in the court of Duke Alfonso II d’Este in Ferrara, and published in the year 1584.
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/5 lb. pumpkin flesh
5 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
1 sprig of sage
Create a well with the flour and open 4 eggs into its center, knead well for about 15 minutes. Spread out the dough with a large rolling pin so that it will be about 1/16 of an inch high. In the meanwhile cut the pumpkin, take out the seeds, roll it with kitchen foil and put it in the oven at 350F for about 20 minutes. Take the cooked pumpkin flesh and crush it with a fork or a mixer, add one egg, Parmesan cheese, grated nutmeg, pepper and salt to taste and enough breadcrumbs to soak up the humidity of the pumpkin. Cut the spread dough in squares with sides of about 2 inches and, with the help of a spoon, put some of the pumpkin mixture in the center of each. Fold the square to form a triangle, then curve behind two of its corner and join them so to create the classical "tortello" shape.
Boil in hot salted water or stock for about 8-10 minutes and serve with hot butter, in which you fried some sage leaves and some other nutmeg and Parmesan to taste.
The other articles of the reportage: Tales from the "Bassa" (Flatland):
Tales from the "Bassa" (Flatland) - Introduction
Traditional Sourdough Pork Fat Bread: the "Coppia Ferrarese"
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