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Zucca di MelaraThe Polesine is a suitable territory for the cultivation of pumkin, especially in the areas of the Po Delta and of upper Polesine
The most cultivated varieties are: the Violina Pumpkin and the Delicata Pumpkin. The Violina pumpkin is characterized by a clave, elongated form which is larger at one end, it has thick, yellow-orangey skin, while the pulp is of a nice intense yellow. It is very sweet and good to stuff tortelli pasta and for any type of cake.
The Delicata is of rounded shape with a very thin deep green skin, yellow-orange pulp which is very compact and firm. It has a sweetish flavour, well balanced by a good level of acidity.


The Veneto is one of the areas in Italy where the pumpkin is better acclimatised and where it is habitually cultivated in the communes of Chioggia, Cavarzere and Cona.


Thanks to the different varieties on the market and to the perfecting of techniques and conservation methods, the pumpkin may be enjoyed in every season.


Known since ancient times, the pumpkin has been for centuries a food reserve in the poorest areas, especially in the farming areas. Today, instead, it is widely used in the best examples of our cuisine for its pleasant taste and versatility: it is the protagonist of traditional recipes of the Polesine such as pumpkin risotto and tortelli. It used to be cut into thin slices and roasted in a wood oven. Nowadays it is oven baked or used in risottos or as stuffing for tortellini as well as refined little flans which have “nouvelle cuisine” influences.
Traditionally, in the Polesine farmers used pumpkins to create funny representations of the souls of the dead in order to exorcise the fear of death.
Pumpkins were carved out and openings cut so a lamp or candle could be placed inside, simulating the infernal origins of the spirits, from here the name “lumassa” (pumpkin containing a light-‘lume’). The pumpkin lanterns were put in dark places: often some jokers would put the “lumasse” ner to cemetaries to scare night travellers.

Pumpkin and Health
Pumpkin is low calorie (15 calories per 100 grams) thanks to its high water content (94%) and a very low percentage of simple sugars.
As every yellow-orange fruit or vegetable, the pumpkin is particularly rich in vitamin A, minerals such as potassium, calcium and a lot of fibre. It also contains a lot of vitamin C and beta carotene. Pumpkin is indicated for the prevention of tumours and for maintaining a correct water balance in the body and its mucous tissues.
The chopped pulp may be used as a calming poultice for skin inflammation while the skin may be used for minor burns.
The seeds are useful in the prevention and cure for urinary disorders. They are also help combat tapeworm.


The pumpkin of Melara is sold directly by the producers, both on site or on stalls during local festivals, fairs and village square fetes.

Mercato Ortofrutticolo di Lusia
Via Provvidenza, 25/3 - 45020 Lusia (RO) - tel. 0425 607024
from Monday to Saturday - morning
Retail by the Cooperativa Ortolani of Lusia:
Saturday - afternoon

Fruit and Vegetable market of Rosolina
Via Po Brondolo, 43 45010 Rosolina (RO) - Tel. 0426 664029 - 0426 340261
Wholesale and retail: from Monday to Friday - morning and afternoon



Caramelle di zuccaIngredients
300 gr fresh pasta

For the stuffing
500 gr baked Melara pumpkin pulp, 100 gr grana padano, 1 egg, 30 gr breadcrumbs, 5 sage leaves, 250 gr butter, 200 gr single cooking cream, 30 gr extra-virgin olive oil


Roll out a very fine layer of fresh pasta, cut 5 cm by 5 cm squares, put a few teaspoons of stuffing made from cooked pumpkin, grana padano cheese, salt and pepper, on each square. Roll then twist the ends of the pasta squares to make the shape of a sweet. Chop the sage, add to melted butter and add cream. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the twists in plenty of salted water, drain, put in pan with butter and sage to dress.


Place 6 twists on each plate and dress with grated grana padano and a drizzle of extra- virgin olive oil.


250 gr of cooked Melara pumpkin pulp (800 gr uncooked weight), 200 gr flour, 100 gr sugar, 4 eggs, ½ l of milk, 100 gr sultanas, 1 small glass of rum, the grated rind of a lemon.
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a pinch of salt.
Oil and lard for frying. Icing sugar.

Soak sultanas in rum and water. Peel pumpkin and cut into slices. Put in a pan and cook on its own until all water has evaporated, or bake in the oven. Blend or sieve the pumpkin and weigh out 250 gr of sieved pulp. Dissolve sugar in milk and add lemon rind. Boil milk. Add flour to boiling milk and mix well. Add pumpkin to mixture. Squeeze the sultanas and add to mixture. Add the eggs one at a time. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into boiling fat, drain when golden and place on absorbent kitchen paper. Dust with icing sugar.


1 kg of Melara pumpkin, 300 gr rice, 100 gr onion, 2 l vegetable stock, ½ glass of dry white wine, 70 gr butter, 30 gr olive oil, salt, pepper, 40 gr of grana padano cheese, 2 gr chopped parsley.

Cut pumpkin into cubes after removing skin and seeds. Put pumpkin cubes in a pan and cover with stock. Cook covered on a low heat until stock is completely absorbed. Sieve/puree the pumpkin. Chop onion and brown in butter and oil. Add the rice and cook quickly for a couple of minutes. Add white wine, pureed pumpkin and salt. Continue to cook adding hot stock as needed, stir often with a wooden spoon. Once done, turn off heat and cream with the grated cheese.


Ingredients (for 10 servings)
2 kg firm yellow Melara pumpkin, 400 gr plain white flour (farina 00 in Italy), 2 eggs, a pinch of nutmeg, salt.

To dress

120 gr. melted butter, 150 gr. grated grana padano cheese


Cut pumpkin and remove seeds and stringy filaments, bake for about 40 minutes. When done, sieve/puree the pumpkin, add it to the flour, eggs, salt and nutmeg and mix well to obtain a semi-dense mixture. Boil a pan of salted water. Using two spoons form quenelles and drop into the boiling water. As soon as the gnocchi rise to the surface, drain and put into a serving dish, dress with melted butter with sage and sprinkle with grated grana padano cheese.

Wine matching
Soave Classico, Ribolla gialla colli orientali Friuli, Bardolino DOC

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