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And Then There’s Zucca Nostrana

Many Italians like their version of a rotund pumpkin — zucca — but the real deal in southern Italy is zucca nostrana, “our zucca,” an orange-fleshed vegetable that can grow a yard long. There’s a field up the street from our place where every year some of the monsters grow between the bars of a wrought iron fence. Nobody seems to know how the proprietor extracts his harvest. Zucca can occasionally make its way north; I would occasionally spot it at a Milanese market when shopping my senior year with my host mamma — with whom we are vacationing again this year for a week on the Amalfi Coast.

Zucca Comp.jpg

Zucca is usually served as a sauce with pasta of mixed sizes and types — you can buy it like that. It is prepared with a typical base of olive oil, garlic and hot pepper. The flavor is, well, the flavor of zucca. Great food does not taste like anything else. Whatever is not consumed a tavola in the evening can be happily enjoyed the next day. In fact, some people believe that pasta a zucca is a dish best served cold.


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