ku-koo-za or “goo-gootz”
(abbreviated speech of Campania, Calabria,
Sicily, and all regions of southern Italy.)
Long and firm, this Italian squash has a light green skin and pure white flesh.
An Italian import, it can grow three feet in length. The stem remains attached
to continue nourishing the squash up to one month after picking. The cucuzza
squash offers a slightly sweet mild flavor and a fairly firm inviting texture.
American and ethnic restaurants are showcasing squash in everything from
enchiladas to risotto and from tarts to soup. Availability has stimulated the
popularity of squash as farmers' markets and produce departments often stock six
to eight varieties, ranging in many colors and shapes. Today's cook can shine
for weeks creating different dishes using the same ingredient: squash!
Originating in Italy, this special squash currently grows in Ruston, Louisiana
by Christopher Marco Cordaro, the owner of the largest cucuzza farm in the
country. In English, the word "cucuzza" means "super long
With its origins in Italy, the cucuzza seeds have been in the same family for
The season for this squash is from June until frost, which is sometimes late November Ruston, Louisiana.
Containing no fat or sodium, the cucuzza is high in vitamin C and fiber. A three
and one-half ounce serving has about 25 calories. Eating five daily servings of
fruits and vegetables lowers the chances of cancer. A recent study found that
eating nine or ten daily servings of fruits and vegetables, combined with three
servings of low-fat dairy products, were effective in lowering blood pressure.
This squash must be peeled and usually should be seeded. If the seeds are soft,
steam or use as a substitute for zucchini in recipes. If the seeds are hard, use
like winter squash by either baking, stuffing, or stewing in chunks. Add to
casseroles and stir-fries, or make a superb cucuzza souffle. This squash makes
delicious quiche, stew, or gumbo. A perfect accompaniment for fish, meat, or
soup, it even makes great muffins. Prepare whole, in chunks, or sliced. It may
be fried, steamed, sauteed, or microwaved. Top with butter and a squeeze of
lemon juice to enjoy its natural flavor. Herbs that complement summer squash are
curry, basil, oregano, chili powder, parsley, and garlic. To store, place in
plastic bag; refrigerate.
Christopher Marco Cordaro, C.M.C. Foods.
The Great Food Almanac by Irena
Squash: A Country Garden Cookbook by Regina Schrambling.