While I was in northern Italy last month, I had several dishes, savory flans or light souffles (sformatos) and risottos, made with pumpkin according to the English translation of “zucca” on the menus we were given. Each of these dishes was very good, at least a couple especially so. The pumpkin taste with which I was familiar was absent. Pumpkin can have a strong flavor and the various flavors in these different preparations were rather subtle, with the exception of the gorgonzola that complemented the zucca in a risotto, a combination that works very well and which I had enjoyed before.
The reason for the lack of pumpkin-ness, as I might have known, is that zucca is not a pumpkin in the American sense. It “closely resembles our butternut squash” according to a phrase in a cookbook I came across after returning home. So, in case you have the hankering for more pumpkin after Turkey Day, Italian recipes calling for zucca in the original Italian might not work as intended with it. Or, it will just taste more American.
An excellent Risotto Carnaroli del Pavese mantecato alla zucca Bertagina di Dorno, salsa al gorgonzola e polvere di liquirizia at Cascina Vittoria, about 20 miles south of Milan, last month