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Pumpkin Tortelli

  • 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Medium
  • First Courses
This is a recipe for a traditional filled pasta of Emilia that varies locally as one travels the towns and cities along the Po River.

Ingredients: Per 6 servings

  • 5 oz amaretti cookies or macaroons
  • 4 ½ lb pumpkin
  • ½ lb Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 lemon zest
  • salt
  • 1 ¾ lb all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • water


Take 4 ½ lb of good quality pumpkin and bake after removing the seeds.
When it is cooked, remove the outer skin and the film that has formed over the flesh, and wring in a dish towel to drain off the juice.

Pound the macarons and grate the Parmesan and the lemon peel.
Amalgamate everything with the pumpkin, add a pinch of salt and work so as to obtain a homogeneous mixture.

Prepare the pasta by kneading the flour, whole eggs and water, to obtain a soft dough.
Roll out into a sheet and put dollops of filling the size of an egg yolk on it. Fold the sheet over and cut into rectangles, taking care to seal the edges of the pasta firmly.

Cook in salted water for about 15 minutes.

Drain and put in layers in a deep dish, dressing each layer with the grated cheese and the butter previously melted together with the sage.

Food History

Dressed with butter and sage, paired with a hearty ragù, served with tomato or mushroom sauce, brightened with the addition of amaretti (in Emilia style) or mostarda (in the style of Mantova) in the filling, pumpkin tortelli are one of the most versatile and delicious recipes of the region.
The dish’s origins can be traced back to the Renaissance, with the arrival of pumpkins from Central America and the growth of the art of pasta makers and cooks preparing opulent feasts in the royal courts. In 1584, pumpkin tortelli were cited by the butler and carver Giovanni Battista Rossetti of Ferrara in his book Dello Scalco.
Next to its noble position on the banquet tables, the pumpkin tortelli also gained popularity because the pumpkin was considered a humble dish, and wrapping it between layers of left-over pasta was one of its typical uses for the poorer families to form a nutritious meal.
With this nobility-poverty ambivalence, pumpkin tortelli became a dish consumed at all tables without distinction, and secured a privileged place in the gastronomic tradition of Christmas as a filling dish that can be prepared without the use of meat.

Discover the Specialties of Emilia

Food Tour - The Italian Food Capital Spend a week in Parma with the Chefs and experts of Academia Barilla to taste the food and wine of Emilia in a continuous discovery of flavors and aromas. Get ready to enjoy Prosciutto di Parma, Salame di Felino, Spalla Cotta, filled pastas, Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena, aromatic local wines, and more. Check out this tour and let us personalize it for you!

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