The perfect autumnal plant is in season
Towards the end of the year, pumpkin is a choice ingredient in Italian cooking. With a number of varieties and several dishes to cook them into, we thought it would be helpful to give some tips on how to include them in your dinner at home!
The most common type of pumpkin is the Mantovana di Chioggia, whereas other variations from the Cucurbitaceae genus include the likes of the Violina, a type of butternut squash. As you can imagine, these different species alone have very different flavours to each other. From pasta fillings to sauces to accompany gnocchi, the fruit is a highly versatile ingredient to cook with.
A very common traditional Italian dish is pumpkin risotto. With a dense and silky taste, the pumpkin is allowed to roast in the risotto and reduces to a softened texture and slightly tints the sauce. For this reason, Italian winter stews also often include pumpkin. A traditional recipe would include a generous seasoning of chilli, olives, garlic, thyme and tomatoes for a warming dinner option to share with the family.
But it’s not just savory dishes, pumpkin pie is a delicious Italian take on a popular thanksgiving dessert. With so many ways to cook this special fruit, it’s no wonder the whole country becomes obsessed with pumpkin at the end of the year. The town of Venzone even hosts the annual Festa della Zucca, otherwise known as the Pumpkin Festival, which rather than focusing on the fruit itself highlights all of the exciting foods featuring the plant. This can range from pizzas, ravioli and other recipes dating back to medieval times.
Get involved this autumn/winter and try a few recipes, or better yet, head to the Festa della Zucca yourself!