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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Akshay

Trofie con Salsa “Piciocia” (Sicilian Pumpkin & Ricotta Sauce)

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

This is a traditional recipe from my province, Ragusa, which I’ve adapted from an old family recipe. I couldn’t find much information on the origin of the name, and in fact the term “piciocia” is used to indicate very different dishes in other parts of Sicily.

As with most Sicilian recipes, it’s all about a handful of simple, seasonal ingredients.

Trofie is a pasta shape originally from Liguria, but very popular across Italy. It has a long, twisted shape and looks almost identical to another kind of pasta called “strozzapreti” (meaning literally “priest stranglers”) - the two differing mainly as the first is made with semola rimacinata di grano duro (durum wheat flour), while the latter is made with plain flour and is typical of the Emilia-Romagna region.

You can use a different shape of pasta, for example Caserecce or Busiate Corte - both typical of Sicily - or you can also replace pasta with rice.

Ingredients (for 4):

  • 500g trofie (or other pasta shapes, see tips above)

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped

  • 350g pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into small cubes

  • 250g ricotta

  • 2 tbsp Sicilian pecorino

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • A few fresh marjoram leaves (optional) to garnish


Heat the oil in a wide pan and add the onion. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add the pumpkin and cover with a lid. Cook on a medium flame for about 10 minutes, adding a couple of ladles of pasta’s cooking water in between, when it gets too dry.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and when it boils again, throw in the trofie. Cook according to packaging.

While the pasta and pumpkin are cooking, in a bowl mix the ricotta, pecorino and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add 2 tbsp of the pasta cooking water and mix well. Set aside.

When the pasta is cooked through, drain and transfer to the pan with the pumpkin, ricotta and mix everything well.

Garnish with marjoram and serve immediately.

This recipe was featured in the Oct-Nov issue of The Mediterranean Lifestyle

Word of the Day


(Marjoram, pronounced mag·gio·rà·na)

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