Do you love pasta?

by Sunni Chapman

Fall in Italy is my favorite time of year. Towns bustle with festivals and fairs. Grapes get picked on foliage-draped hills. And, the air turns crisp and clear. In the fall, travelers might enjoy:

* wine tasting and lunch at a small family vineyard

* exploring the Tuscan countryside with a private driver

* nibbling chocolate at Perugia's Eurochocolate festival

* hunting for truffles in the woods of Umbria or Piemonte 

Do you want to enjoy Italy in the fall with us? You can! We're bringing select agents on a journey through Tuscany Our agent trip to Tuscany takes place Oct. 21 - Oct. 28, 2018. Apply here today: We'll unearth the Tuscany tourists rarely see -- tasting olive oil, strolling medieval towns and staying in villa.


Fall is also pumpkin season! While not native to Italy, pumpkin has become an Italian fall food favorite. Interestingly, Italians use pumpkin as a savory -- not sweet -- ingredient. In Italy, you 'll find pumpkin in your pasta but not in your pie.

See Italy would like to share with you an Italian twist on this all-American veggie: penne con la zucca or penne with pumpkin. Below you’ll find our tried-and-true recipe — perfected in Italy, by Italians. Why not try it on your Thanksgiving table this year?

Pasta is dressed here in a mix of pumpkin and parmigiano reggiano cheese. This dish is sure to please the pickiest of eaters. You simply 1) roast the pumpkin, 2) stir with cheese, and 3) toss with pasta.


• 8 oz. penne or rigatoni, cooked al dente

• 1 – 1.5 cups of parmigiano, fresh grated

• 1 – 1.5 lbs kabocha pumpkin or butternut squash

• 1 onion, rough diced


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, splitting it down the middle. Scoop the seeds and stringy filling out of the cavity. Rub the squash all over with olive oil. Then, wrap the squash in aluminum foil. Lay the squash flat-side down on a sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes — until the flesh softens and can be spooned out.

About 20 minutes, heat olive oil in a skill. Add in the diced onion, stirring constantly. When the onion turns translucent, turn off the heat. Take the squash out of the oven and let them cool, unwrapped, for 2-3 min. Scoop out the squash pulp and mix it in the pan with the onion. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente.

Stir squash and parmigiano until a creamy mix has formed. The cheese will melt, blending into the softened pulp. Season to taste with fresh ground black pepper. As a final step, toss the cooked pasta in the cheese-and-squash mix.

To ensure an even coating, add a little hot pasta water to the skillet while stirring. Pour the water in 1 tablespoon at a time to avoid a runny sauce. Shake the pan once or twice to ensure equal distribution of the sauce. Serve it hot, sprinkled with a spoonful of grated cheese or fried sage.

Buon appetito!

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Christopher Atwood
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