Once in a lifetime

You’re my sweet honey pumpkin pie…

Pasta Pot imageFor such a famous vegetable, the pumpkin has a dull reputation; in the United Kingdom except for a bit of excitement around Halloween, it is dismissed. On the other hand, Italians, love pumpkins far too much to smash them in the streets for a bit of fun. In the tiny medieval-walled town of Venzone they have dedicated an entire day to the pumpkin. Each year, a contest awards prizes for the largest, heaviest, longest, most aesthetically pleasing, and most unusual squash!  Venzone is in the North East of Italy, a delightful cross mountain drive from La Collina del Sole towards Venice, past Bologna where you can take in a bit of culture while you rent a villa in Tuscany Italy takes food seriously - as you will find out when you have holiday villas in Lucca Tuscan food in particular is pivotal to life when you stay at villas for rent in Tuscany this is why one experience we love at our favourite jewel among villa rentals in Tuscany called La Collina del Sole is a learning to cook like Mamma opportunity, where the cooks of this amazing Lucca Villa Rental will teach you all the secrets and shortcuts of Mamma’s Italian cooking including pumpkin based dishes.The pumpkin has dense, flavourful and silky flesh which makes the flavour an ideal canvas for the savoury and sweet culinary creations whipped up by Italian cooks. The pulp can be made into savoury pumpkin tarts flecked with prosciutto, or a pumpkin-honey-candied orange filling coupled with a walnut-flour crust. Long ago, vendors would walk the streets selling great slices of pumpkin, the vibrant orange fleshy vegetable is rich and sweet enough that once cooked it can be eaten as a confection. Balancing wooden planks piled high with roasted pumpkin on their shoulders the vendors would offer up their sugary snacks by shouting, "Suca baruca, suca baruca". One of our favourite recipes that we have come across during our stays at La Collina del Sole is the penne with pumpkin, bacon and balsamic vinegar. Here is the recipe…enjoy! INGREDIENTS: ⅝ lb pumpkin 3 ½ oz bacon 2 oz parmesan cheese parsley to taste rosemary to taste 1 clove of garlic A few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar ½ onion 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ¾ lb penne pasta

PREPARATION: Peel and remove the seeds from the pumpkin. Cut into cubes of about 0.5 inch each side. Place the rest of the pumpkin, the onion, and a little salt in a pan and cover with water until it boils. When the vegetable is cooked, whip until you obtain a cream. First cut the smoked bacon into pieces of about 0.2 inch in length and then cut in Julienne style. Mince the rosemary, garlic and parsley. Put a pan on medium heat, add a drop of oil and fry the smoked bacon. Remove the smoked bacon from the pan, add the pumpkin and cook, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic, rosemary and the bacon to the pumpkin and after 2 minutes of cooking, add the pumpkin cream. In plenty of salted boiling water cook the pasta, drain and add with the previously prepared sauce. Add the Parmesan grated, plate the pasta and drizzle with Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena before serving.