Zucca Gialla alla Calabrese

Yellow Pumpkin with Mint and Capers


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This colourful, tasty vegetable dish is almost a salad, and is good served with cold meats, especially roast beef. Pumpkins originated in Central America and would have found their way to Italy along with tomatoes, potatoes and tobacco, with New World explorers. This recipe calls for the yellow-fleshed pumpkin that holds its shape when fried, rather than disintegrating into mush.


  • 800 g/1 ¾ lb yellow pumpkin, peeled and seeded
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp coarse salt
  • sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • 150 ml/¼ pint/ cup olive oil
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 120 ml/8 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs


  1. Cut the pumpkin into neat, even slices. Spread these out in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Cover with a plate, put a weight on top and stand the colander in the sink. Leave it to drain for 1 hour.
  2. Rinse the pumpkin to remove the excess salt. Drain well, then pat the pieces dry with kitchen paper.
  3. Heat the sunflower oil in a wide pan until a small piece of bread, dropped into the oil, sizzles instantly.
  4. Fry the pumpkin, in batches, for 4 minutes on each side, then lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

  5. In a bowl, mix together the oil, vinegar, capers, garlic, mint and half the breadcrumbs.

  6. Spread out half the pumpkin in a shallow dish and spoon over half the dressing. Cover with the rest of the pumpkin, then the remaining dressing. Press down firmly and coat with the remaining breadcrumbs. Leave to stand for 1 hour before serving.