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Italian Home Cooking
by Julia Della Croce

The combination of fresh pumpkin, sour black dry-cured olives, and tomatoes may sound unusual to Americans, but it is superb in this dish that I was raised on. Pumpkin or squash alone is bland, but the pungent dry-cured olives and garlic carry it to glory. Making this dish a day or two before you plan to serve it gives the flavors time to develop. Avoid serving it with other courses containing tomato sauce.
Serves 6


• 1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
• 3 large cloves Garlic, sliced
• 1 cup canned Tomato Sauce, or 1/2 cup Tomato Paste mixed with 1/2 cup Water
• 1 medium-size Butternut Squash or 1 small Pumpkin (about 1½ pounds), peeled, seeded, and diced
• 20 black dry-cured Moroccan Olives, pitted and halved
• 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh Thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
• Sea Salt To taste
• freshly ground Black Pepper


1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil and garlic together until the garlic is fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, stir, and bring slowly to a simmer, about 4 minutes. Add the squash, olives, thyme, and 3/4 cup water. Cover partially and simmer gently until tender, about 40 minutes.

2. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or chill and reheat gently before serving.

Ahead-Of-Time Note: This dish can be made up to 3 days in advance.


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