Pumpkins are so much more than Hallowe’en lanterns; they are one of autumn’s most anticipated arrivals. You’ll find them in all shapes and sizes at the local markets; from the smooth ‘zucca violina’, the hard-skinned Cappello Del Prete, the bumpy Zucca di Chioggia... There are hundreds of squash and pumpkin varieties in Italy!
The pumpkin's delicate, sweet taste can be adapted to any recipe, from starter to dessert.
Ferrara is famed for its ‘cappellacci di zucca’ (or ‘caplaz’ in local dialect) recipe that has been the town’s trademark since the Renaissance. Most people think the name comes from “cappello” (hat) after the straw hats that farmers would wear at the time. These tiny pasta parcels hide a velvety filling of sweet pumpkin laced with fragrant nutmeg. They’re served with rich ragù or tossed in sage butter.
Another fiercely guarded recipe is the ‘tortello di zucca’ from Mantova, another of Italy’s prized pumpkin creations that harks back to the 1500s. This ancient recipe calls for a sweeter filling than the ‘caplaz’, thanks to the addition of crumbled amaretti cookies and a note of spiciness from the ‘mostarda mantovana’, served with the sharp saltiness of Parmigiano Reggiano.
Can’t decide which you prefer? Try both!
"We can't say enough about our dinner experience in Cecilia's lovely home. Each item she prepared was thoughtfully prepared and well planned in advance. I think Cecilia must have spent hours making her dishes. We asked our boys about their favorite experiences in Italy and dinner at Cecilia's was one of the top things ("the art, climbing the Duomo, church service in Rome, the Pantheon and dinner at Cecilia's.") My husband and I couldn't agree more. The dishes were original and Cecilia explained how she prepared each of them. It was an intimate evening in an authentic Italian home, away from the bustling restaurants filled with tourists (like us!). So we felt that we were experiencing something special."
- A review from Mishal Montgomery, USA
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