Italian Squash Casserole (Sformato di Zucca) is a very easy-to-make recipe, rich in flavor and very nutritious.
It’s a recipe particularly good for the fall season, when squash are in season and therefore exceptionally tasty and fragrant.
This Italian Squash Casserole is made with pumpkin puree, eggs, Parmigiano cheese and flavored with a little nutmeg and rosemary.
The sweet flavor of the squash blends perfectly with the Parmigiano cheese. The end result is truly wonderful in its simplicity.
The preparation of this dish requires no special culinary skills and the result will be a sure success. Even the little ones, who generally love the sweetness of squash, will go crazy for this recipe.
Squash Casserole is a delicious one-pot dish that is also perfect as an appetizer! It has a soft texture and a crispy gratin surface that makes it even more mouthwatering.
Its a real treat to prepare with this great autumn vegetable! So let’s see together how to make a delicious, simple and easy Italian Squash Casserole.
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Italian Squash Casserole
- Prep Time: 20 Min+ about 40 Min to make pumpkin puree
- Cook Time: 30 Min
- Servings: 8
Doses for a 10 inch round baking dish or for a 13×9 inch baking dish
- 1 kg (2,2 pounds) of pumpkin pulp. We used Mantua Squash. But it’s also fine with Butternut Squash or Kabocha Squash.
- 1 egg
- 100 g (1 cup) of grated Parmigiano Reggiano o Grana Padano
- 50 g (1/2 cup) of breadcrumbs
- 15 g (1 tablespoon) of unsulted butter
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- a little bit of nutmeg
- fine salt to taste
PLEASE NOTE: To start with the preparation of Italian squash casserole, you must first make the pumpkin puree.
Of course, you can buy canned pumpkin puree, which is easier and faster for sure. But believe us, homemade pumpkin puree is definitely much tastier. Your squash recipes will have a whole different flavor with fresh squash.
Below we are going to show you a quick and easy method for making homemade pumpkin puree. In no time and without any effort.
How to Make Pumpkin Puree
Step 1) – Line a drip pan with baking paper and place the squash on top. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes at 190°C (374 F).
When the pumpkin begins to ooze, pierce it with a fork at the top. If the fork goes into the pulp effortlessly, the squash is cooked.
Step 2) – Now take it out from the oven. Then remove the skin first, which is easily peeled off with the help of a fork. Finally scoop out the pulp with a spoon.
Step 3) – Also remove the inner filaments from the squash and its seeds.
Collect the pulp in a large bowl. Finally mash it with the tines of a fork or a potato masher. Pumpkin puree is ready!
How to Make Italian Squash Casserole
Step 1) – Add the egg and Parmigiano cheese to the pumpkin puree. Mix very well.
Step 2) – Now add the breadcrumbs and incorporate them a little at a time. Grate some nutmeg into the mixture, add a pinch of fine salt and mix well.
PLEASE NOTE: The breadcrumbs are used to absorb the moisture and watery part of the squash. If the mixture seems firm and dry, you may as well not use the full amount of breadcrumbs.
On the contrary, if it looks too watery, add a little more breadcrumbs.
Not all squash are the same: some are more floury and firm, others more watery and soft, so adjust accordingly.
Step 3) – Grease a baking dish with a knob of butter and sprinkle the bottom with breadcrumbs.
Step 4) – Pour the pumpkin mixture into the baking dish and level it well. Place some butter flakes, rosemary needles and some breadcrumbs on the surface.
Step 5) – Finally bake at 180°C (356 F) for about 30 minutes, until a golden and crispy crust has formed on the surface.
Italian Squash Casserole is ready. Let it rest about 15 minutes before serving. Perfect served hot or at room temperature.
You can store squash casserole in the refrigerator for about 3 days in an airtight container or covered with food wrap.
Before serving it again, however, you should reheat it in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Individual Squash Casseroles
For special occasions or buffet dinners, you can also use small, single-portion baking dishes.
Bake the squash pie in these baking dishes and serve it directly into them.
To embellish your table, or for a gift idea, we point out beautiful individual baking dishes in the shape of pumpkins!
Italian Squash Casserole: Some Variants
Squash Casserole with Mozzarella
You can further enrich this Italian squash casserole recipe by adding pieces of scamorza or mozzarella cheese. Add a few pieces to the mixture or just make a center layer of cheese.
This way you get the very tasty stringy effect when you cut the casserole.
If you like a smoky taste, smoked scamorza cheese also goes well with the flavor of the squash.
For an even stronger flavor, you can replace the parmigiano cheese with grated pecorino, which has a decidedly stronger flavor.
Squash Casserole with Italian Sausage
A great pairing for the squash – and very popular in Italy – is with sausage.
Squash and sausage is a classic combination because the contrast between sweet and savory in this case is really delicious.
Squash and sausage stew is a usual main course in Italy in the fall season. This combination is also often found in pumpkin risotto recipes.
You can cook about 250 g (about 1/2 pound) of sausage in a skillet with very little oil. Then add it crumbled to the pumpkin puree and proceed as directed.
Of course, pumpkin and sausage casserole is much richer and higher in calories and can certainly be considered a one-pot meal!
Italian Squash Pie with Speck
In the mountainous regions of northern Italy, especially in South Tyrol, it’s customary to add diced Speck to pumpkin flan.
Speck is a typical and widely used cured meat in this region. Bacon is also a good substitute for this recipe.
How to Spice Squash Casserole
To flavor the squash casserole we used nutmeg and rosemary. These are typical flavorings used in Italy that traditionally go with pumpkins.
But you can also choose other flavorings according to your taste. For example, with squash you can use even paprika or curry for a more special flavor.
How to Use Pumpkin Seeds
A smart way to use pumpkin seeds and not waste them is to toast them!
They can in fact become a tasty appetizer snack. They can also be used to dress salads or to decorate homemade bread, or with pumpkin soups or even, why not, on pumpkin pie!
How to Make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Place the seeds on a clean tea towel, pat dry with kitchen paper and let them air dry for 2-3 days, preferably in the sun or in a dry place, changing the tea towel if necessary.
When they are dry to the touch, arrange the seeds on a baking sheet covered with baking paper and salt them lightly.
Bake at 160°C (320 F) for about 50 minutes.
Turn them often during baking with a wooden spoon. Once toasted, simply peel them and they will be ready to be used in your recipes.
Squash Casserole web story