Grape Gourmet – Cucina Dello Zio

Cibo, vino e liquori di cucina in tutto il mondo.

Cucuzza – Stewed with Peppers

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Cucuzza – Stewed with Peppers
by James Belardo

When I was a young boy growing up in Brooklyn (NYC), many of our neighbors grew a summer squash originally from Sicily, the cucuzza. The cucuzza (cucuzza longa) can grow up-to 6-feet long, it’s pretty incredible. I never thought that such a plant could have such a profound impact. Somehow, this ubiquitous plant (at least in our neighborhood) would come to symbolize a good part of my childhood.

I’m not a great gardener but do have some land to give ‘er ago, I try, year after year and can only nurture one or two ‘fruit.’ Every year we ‘attempt’ to grow cucuzza, some years are better than others but this year we had a reasonable crop. Having an abundance of this vegetable created a challenge, we had to come up with different ways to prepare it.

Ingredients
3-4 pounds cucuzza squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut
2-3 cloves garlic, diced
1 small red onions, cut
4-6 plum tomatoes or 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, hand crushed
1 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio)
4-6 tbsp olive oil
fresh basil
1/2 lemon, juice
salt and  pepper – to taste
Peperoncino Fiocchi (hot pepper flakes) – optional

Prepping the Cucuzza
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Directions
1. Sauté onions, garlic and optional Peperoncino Fiocchi (hot pepper flakes).
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2. When the onions begin to turn translucent and the garlic softens, add the cut cucuzza. Cover and let cook for 5-10 minutes, mix while cooking.
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3. When the cucuzza is adequately softened, add the cut peppers, cover and cook until tender, mix occasionally.
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4. Add the white wine, let come to a boil, and add the hand crushed tomatoes
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5. As it cooks, taste frequently and season with salt and pepper.
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6. Add the fresh basil and lemon juice, cook for 5-10 minutes
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Enjoy

The Grape Gourmet
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Written by Zio James

September 23, 2019 at 1:05 PM

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