The Pumpkin Tortelli of Mantua

The Pumpkin Tortelli of Mantua

20 April 2016

You simply can’t visit Mantua without dining on an amazing plate of pumpkin tortelli. It’s one of the most typical dishes of the city and they have mastered the art of this vegetarian specialty. Seen on local tables as far back as the year 1000, this specific tortelli is rumored to have been promoted by the Gonzaga family as the symbolic dish of their court. Perfected with the addition of Mostarda (a local condiment ranging from sweet to spicy), the recipe featured a sweet and sour taste that was popular in the Middle Ages. In the city, the tortelli are filled with pumpkin, mostarda, amaretti, and are served with butter and sage, like giant ravioli – however, if you make your way out to the Province, you’ll discover tortelli in all different varieties!  As in the past, tortelli are a highlight of local family tradition and culture, passed down from one generation to the next. Families often protect the secret of their filling jealously, while remaining faithful to the general recipe.



– 1kg pumpkin

– 150g amaretti

– 180g apple mostarda

– 160g grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese

– a touch of nutmeg

– 1 egg

– a pinch of salt

– breadcrumbs for the pasta


Pasta ingredients

– 1kg Mantuan pumpkin

– 600g fine flour

– 6 eggs



– Remove the skin and seeds from the pumpkin and steam it.

– Use a fork to reduce the pumpkin flesh to a smooth cream.

– Add the chopped macaroons, mostarda, cheese, salt and, if needed, breadcrumbs until the mixture is dry.

– Leave to stand for a couple of hours.

– Make the pasta dough using 6 eggs and 600g of flour (ideally durum wheat) and then cut into 7cm white strips. Place a tablespoon of filling every 3 or 4cm and fold the pasta to create little wallet-shaped ‘packets’ that are pressed at the sides to ensure they do not open.

– Cook in abundant salted water and serve with melted butter, grated cheese and sage.


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