Mother’s Day Pasta. Reginetta, Little Queen for the Day.

Mother’s day is something we reserve for the matriarch of our family, and so we will be celebrating the day with my 94-year-old mother. She doesn’t expect gifts but certainly looks forward to a visit and a good lunch. She recognises that her daughters and granddaughters are also mothers and so we toast each other on the day. The younger mothers in our tribe don’t give the day much thought, although sometimes random tokens of remembrance turn up. Gifts are not expected and never have been. I fondly recall the very peculiar little presents my children proudly gave me, after their father provided them with a few coins to buy something at the school mother’s day stall. The more memorable gifts were handcrafted items and cards, made under the guidance of a creative grade teacher.

Mother’s Day began in Australia in 1924, following the American institutionalising of the day in 1908. The commercialisation of the day sped up during the 1950s, and today it is a billion dollar industry in Australia. With a barrage of advertising brochures and catalogues infiltrating our household as the day draws near, an amusing pastime is to find the most annoying or stereotypical item proffered as a desirable gift for mother’s day. What about a new iron? And why aren’t irons offered as desirable gifts for men on the great iron- man day, Father’s Day? If someone turned up here with a gift wrapped iron, I might show them the door, or more kindly, send them into the spare room to deal with the despised and forlorn ironing pile.

If, however, someone asked me around for lunch and made this pasta dish, I would be more than pleased, especially if they opened a bottle of King Valley Sangiovese to go with it. I made it for myself and Mr T this week. Mother’s and Father’s Day is everyday here. The pasta, Reginette, means ‘little queens’, a most suitable choice for Mother’s Day. Reginette also goes by the name Mafaldine, named after the Princess Mafalda of Savoy, Italy. If you are entertaining a queen for the day, I can recommend this rich and economical option.

Reginette con Zucca, Cipolle, Gorgonzola e Salvia. Reginette with pumpkin, caramelised onions, Gorgonzola and sage.

Ingredients. For two big serves. Multiply as required.

  • 200 gr Reginette ( or Mafaldine, a wide ruffled edged egg pasta )
  • One chunk of Kent Pumpkin, around 400 gr
  • 4 -5 brown onions, finely sliced
  • a small piece of Gorgonzola Dolce
  • sage leaves, a generous handful
  • EV olive oil
  • Black pepper.
  1. Heat the oven to 180c FF. Cut the pumpkin into 3 cm chunks and bake for 20 minutes or so until just done but not mushy. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, finely slice the onions, and caramelise them in a large deep-frying pan with olive oil and a little salt, until nicely coloured and reduced. This takes at least 20 minutes. Adjust the temperature as you go and stir about from time to time. Remove and set aside.
  3. Fry the sage leaves in a little butter so they turn brown and crisp. Set aside.
  4. Heat a large pot of salted water. When boiling, add the pasta and cook for 5  minutes or according to the information on the packet.
  5. Drain the pasta, retaining a little of the cooking water in a cup. Add the cooked pasta to the frying pan ( the onion frying pan will have some luscious bits left at the base). Add some pumpkin pieces and onions. Decide how much you need to add here. Less onions perhaps. Stir about over high heat, adding a little pasta water to sauce the dish, and try to keep the pumpkin pieces intact. Finally crumble in some gorgonzola and add the crunchy sage leaves. Add black pepper to taste and serve the lot in a large preheated serving bowl.

As this dish is rich and sweet, serve it with bitter greens salad, simply dressed.

More on other’s day catalogues and stereotyping:

27 thoughts on “Mother’s Day Pasta. Reginetta, Little Queen for the Day.”

  1. The recipe looks delicious and I love your MD tradition. We noted this week that the woman who originally championed Mother’s Day in Australia was so disgusted at the commercial turn it has taken that she spent the rest of her life campaigning against it! Have a lovely day Francesca.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Francesca this looks delicious and sounds easy. I think I can handle this one! I have to congratulate on your food photos, I know they are not easy to take successfully. And I know what you will reply to this – I haven’t seen the ones that have been deleted. Love the history lesson too. We are having Mother’s Day dinner at my Sicilian’s 89 year old mother in laws house. You can’t stop her from wanting to cook for all the family, all 20 of us. Enjoy your mother’s day with your tribe and I hope your beautiful food continues to “coccolare” the family for many, many years to come. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Louise, I really appreciate your comments regarding the photography as I am struggling with the light lately and can only photograph lunchtime recipes- in the evening, or after 4.30 pm, the light is too dark and the food looks washed out. This means less posting, which isn’t such a bad thing.
      How incredible – an 89 year old mother in law still wanting to cook for 20 people. Because she is Sicilian, I might sneak in with you next year. I can imagine the food.
      I offered to cook for my mother ( and therefore my siblings and husbands) but she thought this was crazy as then I wouldn’t have a ‘mothers day’. So we are going out for a lunch. However, she does live alone and cooks all sorts of wonderful things, soups for her great grandchildren, cakes for visitors, biscuits and slices as well as her own well balanced meals. She amazes me.
      Enjoy this day and all others too Louise. xx

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I clicked “like” Francesca but not because of Mother’s Day, but because of your article and recipe. Only because of your article I learned that this is actually an Australian “invention” – I always thought it was yet another American Commercial Event!!! Personally I hate all those commercially organised days for this and that – these days (i.e. Valentine, Mother’s Day, ect) in my ‘book’ should be any day in the year and many times over, too 🙂 😉 Have a wonderful happy Mom and Daughter Day. Big hug, Carina

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing photo. I’ve never had light which was so kind to the food. Thanks for the recipe. It looks like something I could do the next time I get hold of some of the pasta (and remembered to squirrel away a small bit of the sweet gorgonzola).


    1. Thank you and especially for your thoughts regarding the photos. I am really struggling with the light here this month and can only do food shots at lunch time: the rest of the time the natural light is too dark. Yes, squirreling away the gorgonzola is the trick.


  5. Your mum sounds absolutely marvellous, Francesca. I hope she has made her mark on your family-measuring totem. I, too, didn’t know that Mothers’ Day was an Australian invention. We used to make a big cooking celebration of it with friends and their respective Mums when my Aussie mother-in-law was alive. In England we did have Mothering Sunday which I think was connected with the Church and was at a different time of year, but I don’t recall that we gave presents. My own lovely Mum died when she was only 64 and I miss her sense of humour and common sense almost every day. She would have thought your lovely pasta meal was a great treat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mother’s Day was an Australian thing only that it copied the American version 16 years later. ( like so many commercial things in Australia). A big cooking day with friends sounds like a great way to approach the day. Sorry Jan, that your own Mother dies so young. Common sense and a great sense of humour are two very good traits to have. I am sure you still miss her.


    1. I hope you make it Julie, its a lovely sweet standby. I usually make heaps of baked pumpkin and caramelised onion and keep it for other things- risotto, or pizza etc. That wide pasta is a treat: paparedelle works well too. Cheers, F xx

      Liked by 1 person

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