Classic tortelli di zucca – Lombard pumpkin tortelli

  • medium
  • 6
  • 1 hour 45 minutes
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Hailing from Lombardy, Valeria's classic tortelli di zucca recipe is the perfect autumnal dish. Stuffed with pumpkin, nutmeg and amaretti, the pasta is tossed in sage-infused butter before serving.

First published in 2018

In the area that goes from the city of Mantova in Lombardy to the city of Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna, tortelli (in some cases also called ravioli) di zucca are one of the most iconic dishes within the culinary repertoire. Variations from town to town are sometimes slight and sometimes remarkable. In tortelli mantovani, pumpkin is the main ingredient. A widespread local variety is zucca mantovana – a dry-fleshed yellow pumpkin that is great for filling fresh pasta. The filling also takes crumbled amaretti biscuits and, often, mostarda – a sweet, apple-based preserve – plus grated cheese. The dough is regular fresh egg pasta, either shaped like a tortello (as in the picture you see here) or like a square, frilly-edged pocket.




Pasta dough


  • 500g of pumpkin, a dry-flesh variety if possible, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 20g of amaretti biscuits, (about 6)
  • 50g of apple mostarda
  • 50g of Grana Padano, grated
  • freshly grated nutmeg, as needed
  • fine sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed

To finish

  • 80g of unsalted butter
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 80g of Grana Padano, grated
  • amaretti biscuits, crumbled for garnishing (optional)


  • Food processor or blender
  • Pasta machine


Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3. Scatter the chunks of pumpkin onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 1 hour, or until very tender
While the pumpkin is roasting, make the pasta dough. On a work surface, make a well with the flour and crack the eggs inside it. Beat the eggs with the fork, incorporating the flour a little at the time, until you see lumps of dough coming together
Carry on with your hands, kneading the dough until you have a smooth, elastic ball. Flatten it into a disc, wrap in cling film and leave to rest for half an hour
When the pumpkin is tender, remove it from the oven and discard any water it might have released, then purée the pumpkin flesh until smooth in a blender
Add the crumbled amaretti, mostarda and grated Grana to the pumpkin purée, stirring to combine. Season with salt, pepper and a little grated nutmeg. Cover with cling film and set aside
Divide the pasta dough into three pieces and roll them using a pasta machine – I normally stop at to the second-to-last setting. Using a round 7– 8cm ravioli cutter, cut out as many circles of pasta as you can get
Place a teaspoon of the filling into the centre of each circle, then gently fold over to form a half-moon. Press the edges together, then bring the corners together to form a tortello. Alternatively, you can make these square using a different cutter or a pasta wheel
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, in a frying pan set over a medium heat, melt the butter for the sauce. Add the sage leaves and fry for a few minutes, until crisp
Cook the tortelli in boiling water until they float to the top. Drain with a slotted spoon and transfer to the frying pan with the butter and sage. Sauté the pasta for 30 seconds, until evenly dressed
Serve right away with a dusting of grated Grana Padano and crumbled amaretti biscuits

Discover more about this region's cuisine:

Valeria Necchio is an Italian food writer and photographer with roots in the Venetian countryside.

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