Homemade PastaPasta

Tortelli Mantovani {Pumpkin Tortelli from Northern Italy}

Pumpkin Tortelli or Tortelli Mantovani is a traditional pasta from Northern Italy (Lombardy region) made particularly for Christmas Eve.

Pumpkin, as a protagonist of the season is also a key ingredient in the filling of these tortelli.

But Tortelli Mantovani are called so for a reason. It’s not just simple pumpkin that sets them aside, but a combination of most traditional foods of the season – like Mostarda Mantovana (Italian candied fruit with mustard flavor) and Amaretti di Saronno (dry and crunchy amaretti cookies, not to be confused with soft and chewy amaretti di Sasello!)

Some say the original recipe dates back to Medieval times, others know for sure it’s been around since Renaissance.

Whatever the truth is, this is one of those typical and unique flavors of Italy you don’t want to miss!

I made them in star shape (using a cookie cutter) to give them an extra festive look.

Tortelli Mantovani {Pumpkin Tortelli from Northern Italy}

But, of course, feel free to go with their traditional round ravioli shape.


Tortelli Mantovani {Pumpkin Tortelli from Northern Italy}

Pumpkin Tortelli or Tortelli Mantovani is a traditional pasta from Northern Italy (Lombardy region) made particularly for Christmas Eve but also very popular during the whole pumpkin season.
Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6

Ingredients

For Fresh Pasta Dough:

For Tortelli Filling:

  • 250 g cooked pumpkin , approx 9 oz, also see note 1
  • 110 g amaretti di saronno , approx 4 oz, see note 2
  • 110 g mostarda mantovana , approx 4 oz
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese , approx 4 oz
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Salt , pepper to taste

For Sage Butter Sage:

  • ½ – 1 stick butter
  • Fresh or dry sage leaves

Instructions

Prepare the filling:

  • In a bowl add baked pumpkin and mash it with a fork or a potato masher.
  • Finely chop mustard fruit pieces from homemade or store bought Mostarda Mantovana.
  • Crush amaretti with a rolling pin or in a food processor.
  • Add grated Parmesan cheese, spices and mix all ingredients together.
  • Transfer pumpkin mix into a pastry bag for easy piping (optional).

Prepare pasta dough:

  • Sift flour and mound it on the work surface. Make a hole in the center of the mound, add salt and beat in the eggs.
  • Start working the dough with the dough scraper (or a fork) and once it starts to come together knead with your hands until nice and smooth ball forms (see note 3).
  • Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and let rest for 30-60 minutes.

Make Pumpkin Tortelli:

  • Cut off a piece of pasta dough and roll it with a rolling pin or pass through your pasta machine on thickness 5 or 6 (1.2 millimeters or 1/18 inch thick).
  • Roll another sheet of the same thickness. Make sure to keep the remaining dough covered with a plastic wrap until its turn.
  • Brush one sheet of pasta with some water (for easy sealing of tortelli).
  • Pipe pumpkin filling from a pastry bag reserving enough space in between.
  • Cover with another pasta sheet you have just rolled out.
  • Using your fingers press slightly around each pumpkin ball filling to seal well the edges of tortelli.
    This is especially important if you’re making tortelli with a cookie cutter (I used a star shape) and not the ravioli maker. The later, a lot of times will seal the dough without that extra step.
    Cut out tortelli with a cookies cutter or a ravioli cutter.
  • If you’re not planning on cooking tortelli right away, you can place them on a lightly floured tray and freeze. Once they become hard, transfer them in a freezer plastic bag.
  • Depending on how thick your tortelli are, and if you cook them fresh or frozen cooking time varies. As a general rule, toss them in salted boiling water and watch them come up floating, then cook for 3 minutes. Past that time, taste a piece and adjust cooking time as needed.

Sage Butter Sauce:

  • While tortelli are cooking, melt some butter in a large skillet pan, add sage leaves.
  • Don’t let the butter burn.
  • Once tortelli are cooked add them to sage butter sauce.
  • At this point you can transfer them in a beautiful pasta casserole and serve that way. Don’t forget to add a big spoon 😉

Notes

Note 1: 250 g of cooked pumpkin equals approx. 900 g (2 lb) of raw pumpkin with skin OR 720 g (1.5 lb) raw pumpkin skin removed.

Note 2: Amaretti di Saronno are different from classic almond amaretti cookies that you might know. The former are light, crunchy and almost hollow on the inside, the later are chewy and soft. You definitely want the crunchy ones. I’m still trying to nail their recipe in home kitchen. In the meantime you can easily get them online. Lazzaroni brand is one of the best.

Note 3: If the pasta dough comes out too stiff knead it with wet hands until desired softness. As an alternative spritz it lightly with water and/or extra virgin olive oil.

Tortelli Mantovani {Pumpkin Tortelli from Northern Italy}

Buon Appetito!

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