Farm Stand Surprise: Cucuzza Squash!

Currently, we get most of our produce for the HOPE farm stand from Urban Patchwork‘s Violet Crown farm, the HOPE community farm, Urban Roots, and backyard fruit trees. We’re also trying to start selling more produce from backyard gardens, but we’re still working out how that process will work.

Lesley is one of the many great volunteers from Urban Patchwork who drop off produce for us on Sunday mornings. She also has her own backyard garden, which she chronicles on her blog Yogardener, and she recently started selling us some of her extra produce. When we found out that she has cucuzza squash for us this week, we knew we had to do a blog post about it.

Cucuzza is actually a gourd that’s fairly common in Italian cooking, and it’s really goofy looking. Similar in taste to zucchini, it has pale green skin (that needs to be peeled), white flesh, and seeds that are edible when they’re small but can get large and tough if the squash is mature. It can grow up to three feet long! Lesley just put up a couple of cucuzza recipes on her blog that we want to share.


Rich Cucuzza 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 (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!

And check out her recipe for (vegetarian) chana dal puree here.