Recipe: Zucca sfranta (Herbed pumpkin spread)

A gorgeous, seasonal spread that's perfect for Rosh Hashanah

  • place PRE 4 - 6
  • place COOK 20 minutes
  • place SERVES 30 - 35 minutes
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Pumpkins and squash are specialties of Emilia-Romagna, where the locals harvest great quantities of them in the fall, so it’s no wonder those seasonal ingredients are used in this dish to celebrate the end of the Yom Kippur fast. The spread can be served both as a side dish or starter, with some crunchy bread or crackers to go with it. This dish can be made savory or sweet. In Venice, the sweet version goes by the name of succa desfada. It includes candied citron and is prepared for Rosh Hashanah. Kabocha squash are a round, dark green-skinned squash. Use butternut or pumpkin if you cannot find that.


  • Cut the pumpkin or squash in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds and fibers. Cut the pumpkin (or squash) into thick slices and peel each slice with a vegetable peeler. Chop the slices into cubes.

  • Transfer the pumpkin to a deep nonstick frying pan, add 480ml water, and set over medium heat.

  • Add the olive oil, onion, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste, cover, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is falling apart and can be mashed with a fork. Add a little additional water if necessary to finish the cooking.

  • Mash the pumpkin to a coarse but creamy spread and serve hot or at room temperature, with crunchy bread alongside.

    Recipe from Cooking alla Giudia (Artisan Books)


One 1.4 kg pumpkin or kabocha (aka Japanese) squash) or butternut squash
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
A handful of basil leaves, torn into pieces
Leaves from 2 sprigs parsley, coarsely chopped
Scant 1 tsp kosher salt (slightly more regular salt – to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper
Crunchy bread for serving

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