Tortelli di zucca (pumpkin tortelli) l a time

Yield: 8 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1¾ pounds Yellow pumpkin or Hubbard squash (or Acorn)
¼ pounds Mostarda di Cremona (fruit pickled in mustard), finely chopped
2 ounces Amaretti cookies, finely ground
\N \N Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
\N \N Nutmeg
\N \N Salt, pepper
\N \N 1/2 to 1 tsp. dried mustard, optional
2 tablespoons Bread crumbs, optional
2¼ cup All-purpose flour
3 \N Eggs, beaten well
¼ cup Unsalted butter
\N \N Typed by Manny Rothstein

(This recipe is from Dal Pescatore, just north of Parma, Italy,"considered by many to be the best restaurant in the entire country" sez the Times, so it must be true.)MR This filling takes some adjusting to resemble the stuff the Santinis brought from home. Their Mostarda, which they make themselves every year, had a mustard-y bite that nearly brought tears to our eyes. The stuff we bought here, in an Italian specialty store, was much sweeter, so we added a bit of dried mustard to crank up the heat.

Also, since we could find neither yellow pumpkin nor Hubbbard squash on the day we shopped for testing materials, we used acorn squash. It worked fairly well but required some additional bread crumbs to become firm enough to hold together properly. When it's done, the flavors are explosive and almost medieval, combining sweet squash with mustard-y hot mostarda and rich cheese and butter.

Prepare filling up to 2 days in advance, but definitely before pasta is rolled out. Cut pumpkin or squash in sections, remove seeds.

In pan bake at 350 degrees until tender. Pass through food mill into large bowl. Add Mostarda, amaretti, 2 tb cheese and dash of ground nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well and taste.

Filling should have definite mustard-heat. If not, add up to 1 ts dried mustard. Filling should also be fairly firm and loosly hold together when formed in ball. If not, add up to 2 tb bread crumbs.

In bowl mix flour and eggs. Knead into smooth ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Set aside at least ½ hour. Devide in quarters and work with 1 portion at a time, keeping rest tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Knead and roll out on pasta machine to next-to-thinnest setting. Cut into long strip and cut strip at 2-inch intervals into squares.

Place ball of stuffing slightly smaller than walnut in center of each rectangle. Diagonally fold over 1 corner of rectangle to meet opposite corner. Press to seal. Fold base of triangle over to form "paper hat" shape and prell sides to seal. Set aside on floured kitchen towel and repeat until all dough is used up.

Sprinkle heated serving dish with 1½ tb cheese. Melt butter in saucepan. Cook tortelli in abundant boiling, salted water 4 to 5 minutes, until pasta is cooked. Remove with slotted spoon, working carefully to avoid breaking pasta. Place tortelli over cheese in serving dish. Sprinkle with another 1 ½ tb cheese. Pour melted butter over. Toss gently. Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains about: 274 calories; 115 mg sodium; 105 mg cholesterol; 11 grams fat; 37 grams carbs.; 8 grams protein; 1.44 grams fiber.

(MR notes: Ratio of egg to flour may need to be juggled to get right texture, depending on flour used. If filling needs more heat, consider using Japanese horseradish.) L A Times, 3/17/94.

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