“…an historic relic and a culinary treasure.”
So says William Woys Weaver in his classic book, 100 Vegetables and Where They Came From. The Zucca Marina di Chioggia (zooka ma-REE-na dee Kee-OH-ja), also known as Chioggia Sea Pumpkin, was developed by the Venetians starting in the 1600’s. Squash were originally brought from the Americas to Europe and it didn’t take long for the Italians to adopt them as their own. Several variations exist including a smooth squash and this famously warty one that we’ve grown.
This beauty of a squash is still served on the canals of Venice, grilled with olive oil by the bargemen and served as a whole wedge. A sweet and savory delight, for sure! Its meaty and sweet texture has also made this pumpkin popular as a filling for ravioli and for making gnocchi.
Chioggia, an especially fertile vegetable growing region just southwest of Venice, is also famous for the radicchio and candy striped beet that bear it’s name.