© 2013 Can Caramelo

Parmigiana a la Zuccha Gialla

(Butternut Squash Parmigiana)

I’ve been awaiting the weekend more impatiently than usual this week, as the days are becoming shorter and the sun comes out just about when I leave for work, and most of the days I arrive back home when it is already dark, I can’t take photos in natural light. But finally it’s Saturday and now I just need to pick one of the new recipe ideas that I’ve been imagining in the week. Let’s start with Parmigiana a la Zuccha Gialla (doesn’t that sound beautiful?). Two weeks ago I travelled to a congress in Florence and mentioned that briefly to an old friend of mine from Berlin and who is now living in Bologna. My geography knowledge is not the best, so I was surprised when she told me that Bologna was less then an hour away from Florence. She offered to come to meet me!

parmigiana_whole dish_s

Johanna arrived around lunch time, we were both a little tired and very hungry and we started looking for a place to eat. After walking half an hour and ask different people for directions and recommendations, we finally arrived to a beautiful little square and spotted the exact table we wanted, not outside (it was kind of rainy that day), not really inside, a wooden table just at the open window front. There were still people sitting there, but they were already having their coffee and we decided to wait. When we finally got our table and started looking at the menu, we saw that they had several dishes including different parts of intestines and some other dishes that even Johanna who has been living in Italy for many years didn’t know. When the waiter came we asked him about those dishes and it turned out that every single one of those were intestines too. I wanted something without meat, Johanna doesn’t like intestines. We somehow desperately asked the waiter how it could be that everything included intestines when he pointed out smiling what we hadn’t realized: the restaurant was a “Tripperia”, a tripe restraurant. Well, I ordered the only dish without meat and Johanna the only one that wasn’t intestines. Mine was Parmigiana a la Zuccha Gialla. It was good, but I thought it could be even improved and decided to make my own variation of it. It turned out delicious. And here i show to make it (it’s quick and easy!):


Serves two.


  • ½ small butternut squash (around 400g)
  • 1 Mozzarella
  • a few slices of Scamorza (optional)
  • fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 can of plum tomatoes
  • 1 sprig of fresh basil
  • a few black olives (optional)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp muscovado sugar (optional)
  • 1bsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Peel the butternut squash. Cut 6 round, 1cm thick slices of the upper and lower part, it’s fine if some have a hole, but you don’t want it to be big. Put them on a baking tray and sprinkle them with 1 tsp olive oil and ½ tsp salt. Put them in the oven for 20min. Meanwhile, chop the onion and the garlic and fry with the rest of the olive oil until transparent (3-5min). Add the tomatoes, the salt and pepper and the muscovado sugar (a little bit of sugar is a tip from an italian grandma, to balance the acidity of the tomatoes, and dark muscovado sugar adds an interesting note). Use a wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes. Put in the basil leaves, torn into pieces with your hands. Let it simmer for 20min, until it acquires a thick texture. Cut the Mozzarella and Scamorza (if you use) into slices. Take out the butternut squash and put a spoonful of tomato sauce on top of two of the slides. Add a slice of mozarella and scamorza, some of the olive slices and a little parmesan cheese. Put another butternut squash slice on top and repeat adding the other ingredients. On top of the last one add some more of the parmesan. Put into the oven for 10 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and getting a little brown and crispy on the top. I added a few leaves of sage fried with a little olive oil and formed little balls of pumpkin seed butter.

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