Sunday, July 17, 2011



The cucuzza (pronounced ko-KOO-tza or, for slang, goo-GOOTZ)

I love heirloom vegetables. I also love getting in touch with my Italian ancestry.

The Cucuzza is from the gourd family but is used as a squash. I have only had this once at a San Giovanni potluck and old man everyone called Uncle Joe grew them and prepared them he called them googoots . His recipe was like this one from

To Stew:
Peel approximately

2 pounds of Cucuzza squash and dice into 1/2 inch cubes.

In oiled skillet , combine small chopped onions,

1 clove chopped garlic, sauté 2 minutes.

Add 15 ounces of can stewed tomatoes and summer 4 minutes.

Add Cucuzza squash and cook till tender.

(approximately 30 min.).

Season to taste.

Serve plain over thin spaghetti.

Tastes great with meat too!

Courtesy of :

I saw this photo on the above website. What a fabulous picture. He looks like the Italian Uncle everyone wished they had. I had no idea that cucuzza
was grown on a trellis as shown. He definitely took great pride in gardening and growing his prized cucuzza.

Minestra di Cucuzza e Tenerumi
Far greater than the sum of its parts, this uncomplicated and refreshing dish comes together very quickly.
Minestra di Cucuzza e Tenerumi

Courtesy of:
Copyright © 2010, Skip Lombardi
4 oz. pasta corta (tubettini, ditali, or other short, tubular pasta)
3 Cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. peperoncini ( more to taste)
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 Tenerumi, each about 10” long (optional)

20 oz. Cucuzza,
1 small fruit or part of a larger one, peeled
with a carrot peeler and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 Lb. ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped

(or a 14-oz. can of chopped tomatoes, including juice)
8 oz. new red potatoes, previously boiled in their skins,
then cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 Cup chopped Italian parsley

or 8-10 snipped fresh basil leaves
Salt to taste
Fruity olive oil to finish
4 Tbsp. Freshly grated pecorino, Romano,
or other Italian grating cheese
(Aged caciocavallo might be a Sicilian choice.)
–Variations of this dish appear throughout Sicily and in the kitchens of Sicilian immigrants. Potatoes seem to be an American addition.
–Many cooks simply add the dry pasta and 1-2 cups of water to the pan along with the cucuzza and tomatoes, resulting in a dish with less-defined textures. We prefer a little crispness to our cucuzza and are sticklers for pasta al dente, hence the sequence we present here.
Boil the pasta in salted water for 3-4 minutes; it will be less than al dente.Drain the pasta and set it aside. Reserve 2-3 cups of the starchy pasta water.
In a large pan at least 2 inches deep, sauté the garlic, peperoncini, and black pepper in olive oil. Add the cubes of cucuzza and sauté on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, or until crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, if you are using them, wash and chop the tenerumi stems and leaves into 1/2 inch pieces. Add the tenerumi and the red-skin potato cubes to the cucuzza. Sauté for 2 minutes or until the greens are wilted. Add the tomatoes and any collected juice. Simmer for 3 minutes and add the undercooked pasta and a few ladlefuls of the pasta cooking-water, depending on how “soupy” you would like your dish.
Gently stir to combine and simmer for a minute or two, then turn off the burner. The pasta will continue to cook in the residual heat. Taste for salt.
Stir in the chopped herbs and ladle the minestra into shallow bowls. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over each serving and sprinkle on just a little grated cheese (Don’t overdo the cheese—the subtle, sweet flavor of the cucuzza should predominate.)
Enjoy hot or lukewarm, accompanied by good bread.
Serves four.

This is another wonderful and interesting recipe
I came across in my search for cucuzza recipes.
Chocolate Cucuzza Cake
1/2 cup
butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups
2 teaspoons
pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups
all-purpose flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon
baking soda
1/2 teaspoon
baking powder
1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon
ground cloves
1/2 cup
2 cups shredded
cucuzza (Seen note below)
6 tablespoons
butter, softened
2/3 cup packed
brown sugar
1 cup
sweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped
1/4 cup
Change Measurements:
US Metric
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 1 1/4 hr
1 Preheat oven to 325°F.
2 In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, oil and sugar, creaming until smooth.
3 Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition.
4 Add vanilla and beat well.
5 In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves.
6 Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternately with buttermilk.
7 Stir in shredded cucuzza.
8 Pour batter into a greased 13X9-inch baking pan.
9 Bake for 45-50 minutes until done. You can test to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick near the center of the cake and see if it comes out clean. If it does, it's done.
10 Allow cake to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
11 Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine all frosting ingredients.
12 Spread over warm cake.
13 Broil in oven approximately 4-6 inches from the heat for about 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn, it will broil fast!
14 Cool cake completely before serving.
15 ~NOTE~ You don't have to peel or seed the cucuzza, just wash the outside skin with warm water and pat dry before shredding.
Courtesy of:

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