Halloween was never big in Italy when I was living there. I remember walking down to the Campo dei Fiori in Rome one late October morning in search of the perfect pumpkin for my jack-o-lantern. I wandered through the stalls, taking in all of the gorgeous fall produce when I spotted a large (but not so large that I would need a wheelbarrow to get back to my apartment) pumpkin that had a smooth front and would be perfect for my project. As I paid my money and and chatted with the vendor, he indicated that this indeed would be a great pumpkin for ortelli di zucca or risotto di zucca. I looked at him with a puzzled face and he returned the expression when told him that I was not going to eat it but rather I would cut a face in it. Then I explained to him the American tradition and we had a good laugh. Nevertheless, he was probably quite right about the flavor of that pumpkin. Had I been wise I would have made tortelli di zucca from Mantova. They are ravioli stuffed with pumpkin and crushed amaretto cookies and served in a brown butter and sage sauce. At the risk of jumping on the pumpkin everything bandwagon that seems to have consumed the American public, I must insist that you try this ravioli recipe. This recipe is the one that I used and found to be delicious. I save time by buying the pasta sheets: Tortelli di Zucca by Antonio Carluccio
If you are looking for something on the sweet side, try these pumpkin fritters from Italy Magazine. They are basically little donut holes rolled in sugar (I add cinnamon to them as well). One note: I would use canola or peanut oil instead of olive oil for the frying.
Finally, what to do with all those seeds? We are kicking it up a notch this year and instead of just roasting them with oil and sea salt, we are adding a delicious Italian twist thanks to Katie from Katie's Cucina. Italian Seasoned Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Happy Halloween everyone!