Cucuzza Longa Squash
The giant, long squash in the back garden of Cottage City Garden, pretty impressive, is…Cucuzza Longa Squash from Sicily, a real iconic summer squash for Sicilians. In New Orleans where lots of Sicilians settled, it is much beloved and called “gagootz” in the local dialect. The singer Louis Prima had a famous song about about Cucuzza, here’s the link. If you look closely at the photo of the squash on the table, you’ll see a photo of our very own Mark Haskell with Julia Child. Mark was one of the featured chefs invited to the installation of her kitchen at the Smithsonian.
Mark’s recipe follows:
Sauteed Cucuzza Squash in Tomato Sauce(basic version)
Cooked like other summer squash – but its so much bigger, you can get several meals. It saves well, cut the squash into several pieces and refrigerate until needed.
• 3-4 cups cucuzza squash, peeled, seeded (use a spoon to scoop out seeds) and cubed to the size you like, bitesize approx. 1 inch
• 2 medium onions. diced or sliced
• 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes or 1- 28 ounce can of San Marzano peeled tomatoes, puree
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 tablespoon spoon red wine vinegar or red wine
• salt and black pepper to taste
• basil leaves, or parsley, any summer herbs to garnish.
1. Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent, or clear (don’t brown). Then add squash and sauté until squash starts to soften, approx. 5-8 minutes.
2. Once they are soften, but not fully cooked – add garlic, bay leaf, vinegar or red wine for a minute then stir in tomatoes, leave on medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes until tomatoes het saucy and squash is tender
3. Finish by seasoning with salt & pepper, fresh or dried herbs, maybe a little honey or sugar, or chile pepper.
Options: can be cooked with sausage ground meat or shrimp, or served over pasta with grated cheese, or baked in a casserole topped with bread crumbs & cheese