Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Recipe Wednesday

Don't you hate it when life interferes with your blogging time?  Lol.  At long last my recipe for stewed cucuzza makes the blog!  Without further delay...

Stewed Cucuzza
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, diced
  • 1 29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 29 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water (also used to get the extra sauce and tomatoes out of the cans before adding)
  • 1 scant Tbsp sugar
  • 1 scant tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like things spicey)
  • 1 - 2 cucuzza squash, seeds removed and cut into bite sized pieces
I realize for a lot of you cucuzza might be a squash you have never heard of.  For me, it brings back memories of childhood.  My mother is Italian American, but her parents were the children of Italian immigrants; many parts of the family were born and lived in Sicily for some of their lives.  My grandfather used to grow cucuzza and my grandmother used to stew it.  I am sure at some point this recipe involved fresh tomatoes and sauce, but this recipe with the cans is less time consuming and delicious, so we will go with it.  Sorry Granny and Grandma Margaret if it offends you.

Heat olive oil in a large stew pot and saute the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and saute a minute more; then add the sauce and diced to tomatoes.  Use your cup of water to get the last bits of good stuff out of the sauce and tomato cans and then add to the pot.  Add the cayenne and bring to a low simmer.  Allow it to simmer 20 - 30 minutes.  Prep your cucuzza while your sauce simmers.

Since cucuzza might be new to you, let's talk about how to prep it.  You want to peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler.  The skin is waxy and hard and does not cook well.

Once that is removed, cut the cucuzza into two more manageable pieces and then split those length wise and remove the seeds with a spoon.

Once the seeds are removed, cut them in half again the long way and then slice into bite sized pieces.

Cucuzza has a wonderful flavor and remains intact and slightly crunchy after stewed.  It is great.

After your sauce has stewed for 20 - 30 minutes, add your sugar.  This helps cut the acidity in the tomatoes.  You want a scant tablespoon, possibly even 3/4 of a tablespoon.  Stir that in and then give your sauce a taste.  If you need a little salt you can add it in now.  Then add your cucuzza and simmer.

I let mine simmer at least two hours.  The flavors just gets better the longer you leave it simmering.  If you are looking at my pot and thinking that is a lot of food, you are correct.  It freezes beautifully (who just though of Steel Magnolias?  Only me, okay).  I always freeze about half the stew pot in various size containers.  It is great for quick weeknight meals; pull it out of the freezer and into a pot and heat on low until hot.  Couldn't be simpler.

Once your cucuzza is ready serve it over pasta, rice, quinoa, hard boiled or fried egg, or chicken.  Serve it over nothing and eat it with a spoon, it doesn't matter.  It is delicious.  I love to bring it to the office for lunches.

Don't be jealous of my fancy ziploc china.

Now, if you see a cucuzza in your market, buy it and give this a try.  I have a feeling you will love it too.


  1. I have never seen Cucuzza before. I wouldn't have known what it was. Now I'll will have to look for it.

  2. thanks for sharing, there are so many veggies at the store that I don't know what to do with, now there is one less :)