Butternut squash is an excellent substitute for the Italian varieties of pumpkin, which tend to be watery and very sweet. In Cremona, where Franca and Adele live, you can find jars of apple or pear mostarda di frutta – it’s very difficult to find elsewhere in Italy. If you cannot find it, either omit it altogether or pick out the peach slices you lurking in the mixed fruit jars of mostarda.
1200g of pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 walnut size piece of mostarda di frutta, apple for preference
2 free range large eggs, beaten
120g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
75g dried breadcrumbs
2 amaretti biscuits, crumbled
salt,black pepper, a generous scraping of nutmeg
Pasta, made with 3 eggs and 300g ‘00’ soft wheat pasta flour
To serve: melted butter, sage leaves, finely sliced and warmed through in the butter. More grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Steam – or bake the pumpkin on a bed of rock salt in the oven at 180C. The flesh should be soft – but not caramelized if you go the baked route.
Blitz the pumpkin and the knob of mostarda di frutta with a stick blender and then mash in the eggs, Parmigiano Reggiano, breadcrumbs, and amaretti biscuits. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. You should end up with a solid paste.
Roll the pasta dough out into long, 10 centimetre wide sheets Leave them spread out on a well floured surface. Put generous teaspoons of the mixture off centre, and along the length of a sheet at 3 centimetre intervals as Adele demonstrates in the video. Fold the pasta sheet in half over the filling and with your hands press down, between and around the pumpkin blobs to exclude the air and stick the pasta together. Cut the tortelli into squares with a serrated pasta wheel and leave on a floured tray as you work your way through the pasta and filling.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Salt it generously and return it to the boil. Cook the tortelli for 4-5 minutes. Scoop them out and place in a warmed dish. Dribble over the melted butter with sage leaves, and serve with extra Parmigiano Reggiano cheese if you like.