It’s been quite a while since I’ve shared any recipes from Sicily, hasn’t it? I learned this Zucca Gialla in Agrodolce, or Pumpkin in Sweet and Sour Sauce, in a cooking class I took from my friends Alberto and Liliana in Catania. In the version I learned, the pumpkin slices were sauteed in olive oil rather than grilled, but I decided to put my own twist on it today!
I’m wondering if there are any people out there who bought a few sugar pumpkins this year with the intention of finally making homemade pumpkin puree for their Thanksgiving pies. I did. And no, I never got around to baking those pumpkin pies from scratch. But this recipe is so delicious and so simple to make, I’m not regretting it all!
I have the original recipe somewhere around here, along with the other recipes I learned from Alberto and Liliana. But I just didn’t feel like digging through my (still unpacked) boxes in the office. So you’re getting my improvised and Americanized version of Zucca Gialla in Agrodolce. I do remember hearing that the old Sicilian way to serve this dish is with thinly sliced raw garlic and chopped fresh mint adorning each slice of pumpkin. I didn’t do that, but feel free to try it!
For those of you who don’t live in San Diego, land of year-round grilling, you may revert to the original recipe and brown the pumpkin slices in olive oil rather than cooking them on the grill. You could even throw a smashed clove of garlic into the oil to flavor it while it’s heating. Just remove the garlic before adding the pumpkin so it doesn’t burn. Brown the pumpkin slices in batches over medium heat, adding olive oil as needed, then remove them to a serving platter. Drizzle with the sweet and sour sauce before serving.
Zucca Gialla in Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour Grilled Pumpkin)
1 – 1 1/2 pounds sugar pumpkin*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
3 tablespoons wine vinegar (red or white)
3 tablespoons white sugar
chopped fresh mint or parsley (optional)
thinly sliced garlic (optional)
1. Prepare coals or preheat your gas grill. Cut Pumpkin in half, scrape out seeds and membrane. Peel each half and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, one clove of minced garlic, and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Add pumpkin slices and toss well to coat.
3. Grill pumpkin slices over medium to medium-heat for a few minutes on each side or until just tender. Watch closely and don’t let them burn. Remove grilled pumpkin to a serving platter.
4. In a small saucepan, mix vinegar, sugar, and any garlic oil left in the bowl. Cook until sugar is dissolved and mixture thickens just slightly. Drizzle sweet and sour sauce over the pumpkin on the serving platter. Garnish with fresh chopped mint or parsley and thin slices of raw garlic if desired.
Recipe Notes: *If you can’t find sugar pumpkins, try substituting butternut squash or acorn squash. If you decide to saute the pumpkin slices rather than grill them, start with two tablespoons of oil in the pan, and add more as needed. When all the slices have been cooked, add the vinegar and sugar to the remaining olive oil in the pan and heat until sugar is dissolved and sauce thickens just a bit. Serving the pumpkin with thinly sliced fresh garlic and fresh chopped mint is traditional. I prefer to skip the raw garlic and serve it with either fresh chopped mint or parsley.
Yield: four servings.
Around the Web:
- Grilled Kabocha Pumpkin and Asian Pear Salad from Fresh Approach Cooking
- Toasted Pumpkin Seeds from Simply Recipes
- Thai-Spiced Pumpkin Soup from 101 Cookbooks