Sicily is probably the origin of this recipe, adapted from Cia Eramo's La cucina mantovana. It is identical to the classic fegato ai sette cannoli, named after a fountain in Palermo with seven spouts. Few people in the surrounding poverty-stricken neighborhood could afford meat. Pumpkin is meaty, however, and when cooked has so much body that they likened it to liver (fegato).Use pumpkin, Hubbard, butternut, or another large yellow hard-skinned winter squash for this dish.
2-pound piece butternut squash or pumpkin
1/3 cup olive oil, or as needed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 or 3 large cloves garlic, sliced paper-thin
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
Salt and freshly ground block pepper to taste
Halve the squash, discard the seeds and fibers, peel the halves, and cut the pulp into 1/3 inch-thick slices.
Warm half the olive oil in a large sautéé pan over medium heat. In batches, add the squash slices and sautéé, adding oil as needed and turning to brown both sides, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, transfer to a serving platter. Cover with the mint and garlic.
To the oil remaining in the pan, add the vinegar, sugar, and the cinnamon, if using, and cook until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the sauce over the squash. Serve at room temperature.
Notes: some versions of this dish call for cooking the garlic in the oil, discarding it, and then cooking the squash. Some omit both the vinegar and cinnamon.
Serves 6 to 8
by Joyce Goldstein
1998, Hardcover, US $29.95
Reprinted by permission.
This page created September 1998
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