It’s a Cucuzza Squash! It’s weird looking, to be sure, but exploring new and strangely shaped vegetables is only one of the many perks of supporting your local farms and farmers! You can cook these long, white-meated squash any way you would normally cook a zucchini squash. But, the Cucuzza meat has a mild, nutty flavor that soaks up the flavor of your favorite spices beautifully and it won’t get mushy or come apart when cooked. This makes it a great choice for soups.
Still not sure how you want to use this crazy gourd? Try this recipe, adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. It’s a winter favorite at my house right now AND it’s easy!
Rich Summer Squash Soup
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons minced green onions (mostly the white part, green for color)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup rice
1 pound Cucuzza squash, *any summer squash will work* (peeled, seeded, and grated) .
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups vegetable stock or water
2 eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 Cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese as garnish (optional)
Step one: Warm oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add rice and stir to coat with oil and cook for another two or three minute, until fragrant.
Step two: Add Cucuzza squash, salt and pepper. Stir constantly until the squash starts to release it’s liquid and wilt (5 minutes or so). Add stock and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Step three: In a large, heatproof bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until creamy, then add lemon juice. Take a ladle of broth (try to not ladle the veggies) and slowly add broth to eggs, only a few drops at a time at first so that the eggs won’t curdle (the eggs act as a thickener in this dish). Repeat once or twice more until mixture is thick, smooth and very warm.
Step four: Make sure the soup is bubbling only every so gently and slowly add the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Taste, adjust seasonings and add parsley.
Step five: You’re done! Eat up!