It is a classic American favorite during the Fall (especially for Halloween and Thanksgiving), but pumpkin is also loved in Italy and it is the featured ingredient for many traditional seasonal recipes.
YES, ITALIANS LOVE…ZUCCA
The connection between Italians and pumpkin is truly a love story! We love “zucca” – the Italian name for the delicious orange vegetable. It was an amazing gift from America, brought to Italy by Cristopher Columbus. When Fall arrives, we are ready to eat pumpkins as a side or as a main dish. Pumpkin is very popular in the Northern Italian kitchens, especially in the Veneto region. Here, the Venetians call it "suca." We have delicious recipes with pumpkin flesh, of course, but we also enjoy flowers, seeds, and skin. The pumpkin flowers can be breaded and fried, usually filled with ham and mozzarella. They are perfect to be served as appetizers or sides. The seeds are toasted and salted; the skin can be used as a bowl for soups and risottos.
THE MOST FAMOUS ITALIAN RECIPES
Pumpkin is one of the most adaptable vegetables in the Italian kitchen; Creamy and colorful it is perfect for a variety of recipes. One of the most popular and traditional recipes with pumpkin is Tortelli di Zucca alla Mantovana. This ancient plate comes from Mantova (Lombardia), a beautiful city in the north of Italy. The filling of this stuffed pasta is made using the zucca mantovana, a local pumpkin, and crumbled amaretti cookies. Another beloved recipe is Risotto alla Zucca, or pumpkin risotto. This dish comes from the regions of Lombardia and Veneto, in Northern Italy. Carnaroli rice, dry white wine, chopped pumpkin, butter, and Parmigiano Reggiano are the main ingredients of this creamy delight. If you don’t have time to go through the long process of making risotto, not to worry! Magnifico has you covered! You can try Tenuta Margherita Pumpkin Risotto, absolutely delicious and easy to prepare. It is made exclusively with Carnaroli rice milled in Italy.
FUN FACT: ZUCCA MEANS ALSO “HEAD”
In Italian, the word “zucca” also means head. The origin of the word, indeed, could come from the Latin word “cocutia,” which translates to head. If you want to say that someone is really silly, you could say “non ha sale in zucca,” that means “they don’t have salt in the pumpkin.”