“Zuf”: hearty pumpkin porridge from Friuli (north-east of Italy)

“Zuf”: hearty pumpkin porridge from Friuli (north-east of Italy)

By 02/11/2012

What do you have during these gloomy autumnal days? Let me give you a very traditional recipe from my own region, Friuli Venezia Giulia.

I grew up having this for breakfast and although many people do not make "Zuf" anymore, I thought it deserved some attention in my blog as this, in my opinion, makes one of the most healthy and nutritious breakfasts you could have. You need to make it the night before as wholemeal corn flour takes about 40 minutes to cook and the pumpkin needs to be cooked too. It will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.Pumpkins

"Zuf" belongs to one of those dishes of "la cucina povera" or meal for the poor. It used to be popular years ago and was made with what was mostly available within the region during the months of October and November: wholemeal corn flour and pumpkin.

It is still part of the cuisine heritage of the region though.

  • Prep Time : 20 minutes
  • Cook Time : 50 minutes



Cut the pumpkin, peel it and put it in a pan with boiling salty water. Cook until soft (about 20 minutes) then whiz the cooked pumpkin and return to the boil.

Add the corn meal stirring well and keep stirring from time to time. Cook for about 40 minutes.

corn meal for polenta


Pumpkin and cornmeal porridge "Zuf" from Friuli

Enjoy warm with cold milk.

Tip: choose full fat milk for maximum pleasure!

Pumpkin and cornmeal porridge "Zuf" from Friuli

Corn is being picked in late September and October

Corn in the fields in Friuli

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

35 Responses to “Zuf”: hearty pumpkin porridge from Friuli (north-east of Italy)

  1. Suzanne

    I love porridge, so this recipe caught my eye. Delicious and so colorful for these cloudy fall days. Lovely!!!!

      • Louis

        Thank you very much Alida for this recipe! Your website or links to it was the only place I could find an authentic recipe. My background is Friulano too. I used to eat ‘il zuf’ when growing up, and it brought back memories for me. Agree, nothing beats this on a cold winter day. I think you have the proportions perfect for the ingredients. It turned out excellent! My mom would add some sugar to taste if the pumpkin wasn’t sweet enough. For a serving of 4 , she’d also carefully add 1 heaping tablespoon of white baking flower to the corn meal to thicken it a little, and give it a whiz just before the cooking was finished.

      • Alida

        Dear Louis,
        So nice to have a Friulano visiting my site 🙂
        I didn’t know the trick of adding a little flour towards the end. I still crave for a hot and comforting Zuf from time to time, especially at winter time and when you I find a nice and sweet pumpkin. Nothing beats a delicious bowl of zuf! Thanks for visiting Louis.

  2. Mich - Piece of Cake

    Cornmeal and pumpkin does sound like a very delicious combination. I sure would love a bowl for breakfast.

  3. Javelin Warrior (@javelinwarrior)

    How interesting, Alida – I’ve never before heard of pumpkin porridge, but the combination of corn with pumpkin in intriguing. Thank you so much for sharing…

  4. Elwin

    I cannot wait for the next pumpkin recipe! You actually made me use it again, somehow it had ended up somewhere in the back of my mind. Now this last week I used it twice already. Thank you

  5. unikorna

    I have a huge appreciation for anything that involves corn flour. WE love it here. Your recipe seems very intriguing, should I have any pumpkins left I’d give it a try, it must be something like a sweet porridge, right?

  6. Cabriola

    Me piace molto questa zucca!! I really love your cooking! It’s a very original way of doing porridge

    grazie milee

    que pases buena semana 🙂

  7. Balvinder

    I love porridge, oatmeal anything like that so definitely I will try that.

  8. Günther (@Gunther64)

    è una ricetta che non conoscevo questa della zucca con la farina gialla, devo provarla 🙂

  9. la cucina di Molly

    Carissima Alida, che bontà questa zuppa, colorata e genuina, mi piace molto! Un abbraccio!

  10. Phil in the Kitchen

    Intriguing recipe – sounds like a fine start to the day. Oddly enough I recently read an African recipe using a combination of pumpkin and corn meal but that was much more savoury.

  11. Sandra

    I enjoyed this recipe growing up. It was my father’s favourite breakfast to serve us. My children enjoy it and so do my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I experimented by adding some vanilla and brown sugar as well as experimented with coarse and fine corn flour. I enjoy it thoroughly no matter how I prepare zuf!

    • Alida

      Oh this is interesting! Very few people eat Zuf these days and it is nice to hear that you do. Was your dad from Friuli?
      I love the idea of adding a touch of vanilla. I find this a healthy and nutritious way to start the day.
      All the best.

  12. Elisa

    Grazie ! My Furlane mom ate zuf often in the fall and thought it a treat. Now, I too appreciate its simplicity and texture. I’ve Canadianized by adding a drop of maple syrup and warm milk.

    • Alida

      Oh Zuf! The best thing ever. So nice that you learned to make it from your mum and how yummy with maple syrup too.
      I love to eat it with full fat milk.. too. I could not think of a better breakfast. Ciao Elisa!

  13. John Lenarduzzi

    I loved Zuf as a child and would also cut up the pumpkin for my mother so she would make this for our breakfast
    I will give it a try this weekend, thanks for the recipe

    • Alida

      It is so nice to hear of someone who knows Zuf! Even in my own region in Friuli some (usually younger) people don’t know what it is. I used to love it so much with fresh full fat milk.. just so good. Enjoy it!

  14. Lida Reeves

    Oh my goodness!!! My parents were from Friuli, so I grew up on this on a regular basis in the Fall; sometimes we got it as a pre-dinner “snack” when we got home from school. I can’t believe I found an actual reference / recipe for it, I have been searching for years, googling “zuf” every once in a while to see what would turn up…Thank you for posting this!!! While I “sorta” had an idea of how to make it, I never had the impetus to try it “in the blind” without some basic guidance (never having paid attention when I was younger!!). What I do remember is my mom would add Cream of Wheat to it, instead of the cornmeal (she kept that for polenta!), a Canadian modification I’m sure. I would always add a sprinkling of sugar on mine: Delicioso! There was always ongoing banter among the neighbourhood ladies in the fall as to which pumpkin type made the best zuf…. is there one you would recommend??

    • Alida

      How nice. When people think of Italy they never think about rustic dishes like “Zuf”! No one seems to give it much consideration and most people don’t even know what it is.. so I am really pleased to receive your comment!
      Many friulani emigrated to Canada after the war, some relatives of mine too. Do you know which town in Friuli your mum came from?
      The best pumpkin to use is the one that it is not too watery, the dry sweet and “compact” ones are the best. Those are the ones that when you bake them in the oven are really deliciously sweet.. almost like a cake! This is because you want some sweetness in your zuf and you can get it all naturally from a good quality pumpkin.
      Let me know if you make it. My mouth is watering only at the thought of Zuf!

  15. Zora Kriz

    My 95 year old mother-in-law was reminissing about her mother’s cooking and she mentioned a pumpkin porridge. I am so happy I found your recipe! When I told her the name (mispronouncing it with a hard Z), it didn’t mean anything to her until she saw the writen word. Then she remembered! I will give her the recipe. Thank you for sharing. She was from a small village not far from Udine.

    • Alida

      Lovely. She would have probably grown up with zuf and polenta. So yummy.

  16. Denis Pasut

    Had this as a Kid – been looking for a long time like Lida but my spelling let me down -” zoof” or “zoff ” as in the great friulano goalkeeper- good to get a guide – my family came to Australia from San vito al tagliamento provincia di udine many years ago i like keeping my heritage alive passing it on to my children we even make our own cottechino during salami season and all my wine is friulian varieties any way enough of that – Butternut is the pumpkin i use thanks for the guide

    • Alida

      San Vito! Just 15 minutes away from my hometown, a lovely little place. I still go there often and I love their weekly market on Fridays. Well done for making cotechino, you really are skilled. I have never attempted that. All the best and happy Friulano cooking 🙂

  17. Marco

    We had this for breakfast sometimes growing up , my nonna was friulani.
    We loved it as kids

    • Alida

      Oh I exactly know what you mean! 🙂

  18. Katy

    My Mamma passed away a year and a half ago 🙁
    so, of course, I want to make all her traditional recipes! she has many in her cookbook (written by her hand) but nowhere could I find Zuf! she use to make it for us all the time growing up xox
    I was going to call my cousins in Italy ( Fratta, Fossalta di Portogruaro, Venezia) but remembered that Google is my friend and found your wonderful page with the recipe 🙂
    What I remembered about my Mamma’s is that she used Cream of Wheat ( she made Polenta with that) but I did do it with the cornflour as per your recipe.
    thank you so much for sharing xoxo
    Today it’s the first day of snow here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada… best time to make Zuf!! it was Delicious! thanks for my memories 🙂

    • Alida

      Thank you for your comment Katy; So lovely to hear that you enjoy Zuf too. Not many people know this dish, so simple yet so delicious and healthy. I had a look at the “cream of wheat” that you mentioned, is it basically semolina? That’s interesting, I never thought of making Zuf with it and it must be very nice as well. It is lovely that you are remembering your mum by making her recipes. I used to live quite close to Fossalta di Portogruaro, my uncle lived there. I miss living in Italy. Greetings from the UK 🙂 Alida

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *