adapted from The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews II by Edda Servi Machlin
(Giro Press 1992)
Yield: 12 servings
The New World imports, pumpkins and winter squashes, quickly became popular among Italy's Jews, who especially prized them during the fall holidays, when their sugary, golden flesh symbolized the sweetness and seasonal plenty of an abundant harvest. Edda Servi Machlin features this recipe on her Rosh Hashanah menu. It's excellent for the New Year seder since there is no last-minute cooking required: you can bake it in advance or simply prepare everything up to the baking ahead of time.
- 1 large butternut or any winter squash you like (3 to 4 pounds)
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon shredded basil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- olive oil
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- bread crumbs
Trim and pare the squash. Cut in half and remove the seeds and most of the fibers around them. Cut coarsely (approximately ¾-inch cubes), and place in a pan with 1 cup water, onion, parsley, basil, garlic, and 4 tablespoons oil. Cook over moderately high heat, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary, but keep the squash rather dry.
Remove from heat and coarsely mash. (Do not puree.) After it cools a little, add eggs and mix well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a baking dish and sprinkle abundantly with bread crumbs. Pour the mashed squash into it; flatten with a rubber spatula, sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and drizzle with oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until well puffed and the top begins to brown.