A zillion years ago my best friend’s mom, Sparky, used to grow these long skinny Italian squashes on long string trellis’ in her tiny back yard. They lived in a narrow row house in Harrisburg so space was at a premium. Sparky was 100 percent Italian and a great cook. She used to make this simple but delish side dish of small cubes of curcuzza squash cooked in tomato sauce. I never had access to this old time variety until I saw them at my sister’s garden last summer and searched until I found seeds at superseeds.com. They go by the name of trombolini heirloom Italian summer squash. You can pick them from small to very large sized. They can be allowed to harden and dry and then used like winter squash particularly as butternut squash. They grow on long vines and are really cool looking. So this summer they are growing wildly and I’m learning how to cook with these unusual squash fruits.
The other week I made a delightful sauté. Success led me to feel I should try the special dish Sparky made all those years ago. It was simple actually, with just a few ingredients and some loving attention.
I strongly suggest you find trombolini squash but in a pinch any other summer squash will do; just cook it for a far shorter time.
Sparky’s Curcuzza in Red Sauce
2 Tbsp. EVOL
½ cup diced yellow onion
3-4 cups cubed trombolini squash
1 large garlic clove
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce; good quality
2 Tbsp. dry red wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in large saucepan, add onion, cook about 4 minutes until it starts to soften. Add cubed squash, cook 5 minutes, add minced garlic clove, cook one minute. Add tomato sauce. Put 2 tbsp. red wine in can to rinse it out and add to pan. If you don’t like wine; use water. Cover and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes until squash is cooked but still holds it’s shape. Stir it a few times to make sure it is not sticking or burning. If you used zucchini your cook time will be more like ten minutes. I add salt before the 30 minute cooking; maybe ½ tsp of it and a few grinds of my pepper grinder.
Serve over hot spaghetti pasta. You can serve it with some Italian sausage or fried eggplant or top your plate with grated fresh Parmesan cheese if desired. My pasta was gf of course. This can be made vegan, gf, a side to a meat entree or just a delightful snack. Manga!