Pumpkin tortelli

A classic of Italian cuisine

by Serena Andreani

Pumpkin tortello is the typical Mantova’s dish: a particular type of stuffed pasta with a sweet taste served with butter and sage. It has a very ancient and noble history: it dates back to 1544, when Gonzaga’s family cook, Cristoforo Messusbugo, quoted them in his recipe book with the name “turtell”. From Mantua, the recipe has travelled through Emilia and Lombardy, undergoing from time to time partial changes in the filling and seasoning.

Nowadays, it is a widespread recipe all over northern Italy, also proposed in Parma’s traditional cuisine. However, there are different variants for the filling: besides, of course, pumpkin (strictly “Delica”/Mantuan type) and Parmesan cheese, the rest of the ingredients are an element of a dispute between one bank of the river Po and the other.

Parmesan recipe provides for amaretti, whereas the Mantuan also adds mostarda, which gives the tortello a spicy and sweet taste.

Mostarda is a fundamental ingredient in the recipe of pumpkin tortelli though it is often omitted due to its particular flavour. There are many types of mostarda which vary according to the fruit used: Parma mostarda is perfect to combine cheese and boiled meat and is prepared with mustard pumpkin, mustard oil (available in drugstores, but mainly in the areas of production and consumption of mostarda), white watermelon, apples, pears quinces and untreated lemon juice; on the other hand, the Mantuan one is perhaps the oldest and consists of quinces (although they have recently been replaced by rennets), mustard oil and sugar.

In any event, pumpkin tortelli are a tasty dish worth trying in all its variations, including the seasoning, which changes depending on the area: butter and sage, or sausage or with sauce. There are many interpretations of this dish, but all are capable of enhancing the delicate flavour of the pumpkin, the undisputed queen of the recipe.

Parmesan recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAm-Qu4TG_E

Puff pastry:

300 grams of flour 00

100 gr durum wheat semolina flour

4 size L eggs

A pinch of salt


500 g pumpkin

2 gr of salt

70 gr of Parmesan cheese

70 gr of dry ground amaretti

A grind of black pepper

A pinch of nutmeg

Mantuan traditional recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VHE-rzHscQ

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