The Ancient Couple – Minestra di Zucca alla Milanese

The ancient Finns probably knew how to fight a bear with their bare hands, how to survive a freezing dark winter lasting 7 months (I have no idea how without the modern technology) and which berries and mushrooms are not poisonous to eat.

The ancient Italians – on the other hand – knew how to write a piece of literature classics, how to compose an opera and that a strong cheese and pumpkins make a fantastic culinary couple. I already concluded the same thing about pumpkins and cheese based on this Giorgione’s recipe a few months ago, and this traditional soup is another example why this love affair has been able to solidly withstand the lures of different foodie trends for centuries.

Another neat thing about this recipe is cooking pasta with (pumpkin) milk instead of water. The end result combined with parmesan and butter is a delicious, hearty soup fabulous during the colder months of the year. In fact, it would have also also a very fitting dish for those poor shivering Finns to warm up their hands still cold from the bear fight…

Milanese Pumpkin Soup

Serves 4

200 g pasta (small & short)

600 g pumpkin

600 ml whole milk

100 g grated parmesan

40 g butter salt (to your taste)

Peel the pumpkin, remove its seeds and slice it. Cook the pumpkin slices in a small amount of water until soft. Drain the pumpkins and blend them into a purée. In a kettle, bring the milk to a boil and add the pumpkin purée. Stir and season with salt. Add the pasta and cook the soup on a moderate heat (stirring frequently) until the pasta is cooked. Mix the butter and half of the parmesan into the soup. Serve immediately on soup dishes and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese on top.

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