Surprisingly, two ingredients that had a significant impact on historical northern Italian cuisine were in fact American: pumpkin and potato. Yep, prior to discovering the New World, Europe had never encountered these two staples of their diet. There was no pumpkin gnocchi before America, no Irish Shepherd's Pie, no English fish and chips.
Granted, we should probably thank Europeans for some of our favorite pumpkin and potato dishes, because our preparation was on the primitive side for a bit. We might enjoy a nice, crusty pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving--but that was a recipe we stole from the British half a century later. They made a spiced squash dessert pie while the pilgrims were still stuck on the medieval tradition of meat pies. The pumpkin served at the first Thanksgiving was probably a custard of eggs and milk and honey baked in a pumpkin shell hollowed of its seeds.
Here's my favorite, all-American, super-simple, and very-delicious pumpkin recipe:
1 can pumpkin
2 cans of milk
1/3 cup maple syrup (or to taste)
1 tsp. cinnamon
sprinkles of nutmeg and cloves
Whisk together over medium heat and enjoy! It's like pumpkin pie without the crust.