I’ve eaten a lot of yummy things in Italy, but this recipe was definitely one of the tastiest.  For Christmas lunch, we started out with polenta with a cheese sauce topping.  Our second course was “cappellacci con la zucca” — literally, “big ugly hats with squash” and a delicious tomato sauce (mine was meat-free, and I’m posting that version of the sauce here); for our third course, a vegetable dish similar to ratatouille or pisto manchego, and finally, for dessert, Pandoro (similar to pannettone but without fruit).

Cappellacci con la zucca

Pasta: Make pasta (with flour and eggs, NO water).

Roll dough out (or use a machine).  Cut into squares about 2 inches by 2 inches.

Filling: Bake the squash (DON’T boil; it makes it too liquid).  Mash squash with fork and add lots of parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt, and nutmeg to taste.

Assembly: Dab teaspoon of filling into the squares of pasta.  Fold over once into a triangle, and pinch sides closed.  Fold again.  Roll around finger; this gives it its shape.  “Cappellacci” means “big ugly hats”.

Boil in salted water for about 6 minutes.

Top with sauce.

Vegetarian “Ragú”

olive oil





garlic (1-2 cloves)

bay leaf (1)

cloves (tiny pinch)

cinnamon (pinch)

rosemary (pinch)

basil (2-3 leaves)

red wine (1/2 glass)

salt & pepper

tomato sauce (or tomatoes)

Chop all vegetables finely (or use a blender).  Sautee in olive oil.  Add wine and let evaporate, then add tomatoes.  Let boil on a low flame for 40-60 minutes.