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A Classic Recipe for Cucuzza Squash -- aka New Guinea Bean

After you are exposed to Il commissario Montalbano you soon learn to respect Sicilian food.

Here's a classic RECIPE for  Cucuzza Stew from Sicily. You may know the vegetable as New Guinea Bean...

Many other Cucuzza recipes are over done., I reckon, but the Sicilians are the great aficionados of the vegetable. Note that this recipe sort of replicates the Turkish habit of generous cooking in olive oil. The options are great too.

You 'could' substitute zucchinis...

Italian Gardeners' Association Cucuzza Squash Drill Team,

Los Gatos,California, 2007. 

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Ripper - a vegetable-wielding drill team. Beats the heck out of drill teams with rifles.

My Cucuzza squash doesn't fruit all the time -- but after being desultory over the cooler months it's back throwing out the bottle shaped long gourds.

It is indeed a tasty vegetable -- fresh and clean flavour with a texture that survives stewing. Don't let them get away from you as too big can become bitter.

Relying on Cucuzza and the Tromboncino zucchini works for me in the kitchen.Reliable, trouble free growing and staggered harvests.

I give away what I can't eat -- but then I've hardly touched the immense variety of Cucuzza/ Bottle Gourd/ Lauki cuisine.

We're talking a major cooking ingredient in the African, Caribbean and Indian menu.

Elsewhere the Mexican squashes -- aka Tatume or Calabacitas(LINK) -- have taken off so I need to harvest those before they get huge. One I retrieved from the neighbour's side of the fence today is as big as a beach ball.

When I say taken off -- the Tatume are creeping everywhere.Up and over the fence -- over the citrus trees-- even into the plunge pool.

Assuming you keep your eye on any squash that fruits -- as they can enlarge so quickly -- the Sicilian stew made with Cucuzza in the recipe above (in the original post) is easy to prtepare, filling and tasty. You 'could' use zucchinis but you'd miss that crisp edge.

This year I'm tacking Snake Gourds again.Image at above right.

The last two seasons all I got for my efforts was one or two gourds -- but that was enough for the flavor & texture to thrill me.Lovely flower too...

This time...this time: I'm gonna nail the horticulture. If I can only get the Snake Gourd to perform as well as these other two...I'll be a very happy  squash fancier.


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