When I was a little girl growing up in Wantagh, Long Island and elderly couple moved into the house next door. They were originally from Italy and every year Mr. and Mrs. P. grew the most beautiful and robust backyard garden! Everyday they were up with the sun and out in the yard carefully and lovingly tending to the plants they were growing! I remember them having a kitchen outside and Mrs. P. cooking…the delicious aroma would waft over the fence into our yard!
Both yards (theirs and ours) had very tall pine trees and every year the most peculiar plant grew up the pine trees and produced these long, green, baseball bats! They were Cacuzza squash or how I was taught to pronounce it ” Goo-Gootz.”
Cucuzza Squash originated from Italy. An interesting factoid about Cacuzza Squash is that the cucuzza seeds are passed down and have been in the same family for generations!!
Mr. & Mrs. P. gave us one or two “Goo-Gootz” every year and my dad would get down to business preparing it.
Back then we ate this dish over pasta BUT now I won’t and don’t!
A few weeks ago I took my two cavemen (Nate and Noah) to the local Farmer’s Market and low and behold, there were a few “Goo Gootz” sitting there! It flooded me with memories of days gone by. That paired with the amazement in my boys eyes did me in. I bought it and off I went…back home to prepare it!
Needless to say it was a big hit with the cavemen. So, I would like to share the recipe with you, my peeps!
1 cucuzza squash (psst…any variety of squash can be used)
1 spanish onion, sliced lengthwise
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 can Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Chopped Tomatoes with Chiles (don’t stress if you do not have a Trader Joe’s near you…substitute this for 1 can of chopped tomatoes and a few tablespoons chopped chiles; both are available at supermarkets)
½ cup chicken stock (I use organic and low sodium)
salt and fresh pepper
- Peel approximately 2 pounds of Cucuzza squash and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Discard large seeds.
- In oiled skillet, combine onions and garlic, sauté approximately 2 minutes.
- Add can of tomatoes and chicken stock and mix together.
- Add Cucuzza squash and cook on a low to medium heat until tender approximately 30 – 45 min. Stir occasionally.
- Season to taste.
Other ways to prepare Cucuzza Squash
Peel squash and cut into French fry potato shapes.
Dip into mixture of beaten egg and then dredge in Breadcrumbs.
Fry until golden brown, being careful not to over cook.