Cooking With Pumpkins: Italy Culinary Vacations
Pumpkin dishes abound in the U.S. during the Fall season. Since Italian cuisine is so focused on seasonal ingredients and dishes, it should come as no surprise that pumpkin dishes are also popular in Italy this time of year. In Italy, zucca — or pumpkin — is an important ingredient in everything from puddings and cakes, to soups, breads, pastas, and sauces, among so many more dishes that you can discover during Italy culinary vacations.
In Italy, the pumpkins come in a variety of colors and textures. There's the typical orange of course, but also vibrant colors of green, white, and even grey and red. All the different varieties add interesting flavors to the dish, but the most popular — and prized — of all is the zucca marina di Chioggia, which is produced in the Veneto region near the Adriatic Coast. The thick exterior of this particular pumpkin is very sweet and works wonderfully with dishes like gnocchi and risotto. In the fishing town of Chioggia, you may even find street vendors who are grilling up zucca and sprinkling it with a dash of salt, pepper, and olive oil before serving it to their customers.
The fruit also has a place of honor at the annual Pumpkin Festival in Venzone, where chefs serve up a variety of regional dishes with pumpkin amidst music, juggling, and other entertainment.
While Americans may prize their plethora of pumpkin dishes, clearly Italians do too. Looking for a unique take on the classic pumpkin pie? Try this Italian recipe.
By Liz Hall