Cucuzza and Shrimp Saute
When my husband came home with an interesting vegetable a few days ago, I had no idea what it was. Reading the label – Cucuzza – I still had no idea what it was. So off to the interwebs to do a little research.. apparently, it’s an Italian squash!
According to Specialty Produce:
Cucuzza squash, known for its extreme length, can grow anywhere from fifteen inches to three feet in length and can be upwards of three inches in diameter. Its shape can be long and straight or can have a slight curvature. Its pale green skin is thin yet inedible and encases a creamy white flesh. The Cucuzza squash contains petite seeds that are edible when the squash is young but when mature become hard and should be discarded before eating. When young the Cucuzza squash offers a slightly nutty, rich squash flavor with a relatively firm texture similar to that of cucumber and zucchini. Look for Cucuzza squash with smooth, bruise free skin and with the stem still attached as it will continue nourishing the squash up to one month after picking. “
Ok, so what do I do with it? Doing a little more research I came across a recipe called “Italian Goo-Gootz Saute” and decided to go for it. And I’m so glad I did. It was sort of like a stew, but there wasn’t much liquid to it, so more of a dry stew, I guess? Hard to explain, but it was hearty and had just enough kick of spice to make me happy.
All you have to do to prepare the Cucuzza is peel, slice and scoop out the large seeds.
- 1 Cucuzza squash (~2lbs)
- 1 Spanich onion, sliced lengthwise
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes with chilies
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- sea salt (season to taste)
- black pepper (season to taste)
- 1 lb peeled, raw shrimp
Peel approximately 2 pounds of Cucuzza squash. Slice down the middle lengthwise and scoop out and discard large seeds. Dice into 1/2 inch cubes.
In oiled pot or skillet, combine onions and garlic, sauté approximately 2 minutes.
Add can of tomatoes and chicken stock and mix together.
Add Cucuzza squash and cover. Simmer on a low to medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Wash and drain shrimp. Add shrimp, cover, and simmer for another 8-10 minutes until shrimp is pink and cucuzza is tender.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Can be served over pasta or rice and topped with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, if desired.
- If you cannot find Cucuzza squash, substitute any variety of squash in its place.
- If you do not have tomatoes with chilies, substitute this for 1 can of chopped tomatoes and a few tablespoons chopped chiles; both are available at supermarkets.
- I used low-sodium chicken broth instead of stock.
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