Monday, April 13, 2015

Italian American Gagootza a.k.a. Cucuzza

ZUPPA di CUCUZZA
 
"THATS a GAGOOTZA" !!!
RECIPES FROM MY SICILIAN NONNA 
by Daniel Bellino "Z"
 
on
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RECIPE
 
Zuppa di Cucuzza
 
Excerpted Form Daniel Bellino's
 
Grandma Bellino's Italian Cookbook
 
 
 
 
ZUPPA di CUCUZZA
    “Gagootz” !!!!
This is a soup that my mother used to make every now and then. Usually when her friend Mary Santangelo gave her a couple big Cucuzza, from their backyard garden in Garfield. My mother Lucia learned this recipe from her mother who used to make it back in Sicily, and she learned how to make it from her mother, my Great Grandmother Salemi. This dish is one of the quintessential recipes of this book, and also of both the Italian-American and Sicilian-American table as a whole, and of course of Sicilians in Sicily, especially in the years of the first 70 years of the 20th Century from around 1900 to 1970’s or so. The soup is easy to make and quite economical, feeding about 15 or 16 portions of which you can serve over a 3 - 4 day time. Cucuzza are not always available in every store, however more and more super markets are carrying them during their growing season, and you can always get them at any produce store that specializes in Italian foods.
This soup is a soup of course, but almost a pasta dish as well, and you can vary the amount of pasta as you like. Cooking pasta separately on the side and when you are serving it, you will use double the amount of pasta or more, with less liquid in the soup and using the soup actually as a sauce. I always do this, as there are always leftovers when making a pot of it, and serving it as a pasta is a nice welcome alternative to give one variety from the same dish. I do the same with Lentil Soup to make Pasta Lenticchie, a pasta dish. In addition, if you like, you can sauté one link of Italian Sweet or Hot Sausage, serve up the soup as either pasta or soup and add a link of sausage or two to each plate. You will love it any way you do, as do the Bellino’s and millions of other Italian’s have over the years. So make it, and enjoy, and always Mangia Bene Amici!
GAGOOTZ
 
RECIPE :
1 large Cucuzza ak.a. Gagootz
1 large onion, peeled and diced
6 Garlic Cloves, peeled and sliced thin
8 tablespoons Olive Oil
½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper
6 Plum Tomatoes, chopped
1 pound fresh cooked Fava Beans, or frozen Baby Lima Beans (or canned lima beans)
1 pound imported Italian Ditalini (or Ronzoni)
Cut off ends of the Cucuzza and peel it with a vegetable peeler. Cut the Cucuzza in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and discard. Cut into 1 ½ inch cubes.
Put olive oil and cucuzza in a large 6-quart pot. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring with a wooden spoon. Add onion and cook for 4 minutes more.
Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add red pepper, and cook for 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Add water and cook on medium-low heat for 12 minutes.
Add Fava Beans (or Lima Beans) and cook on low heat for 6 minutes.
Cook Ditalini according to directions on package. When finished cooking, drain in a colander, making sure to reserve 2 – 3 cups of water to add to soup.
Add all the pasta to the soup. Add salt 7 Black Pepper and stir.
Add water little by little to the soup until you reach the consistency that you like. The soup should be fairly thick, yet slightly watery.
Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top of each bow of soup and pass grated cheese for your guest to put in their soup.
Save any remaining soup in a closed container to enjoy anytime for lunch, dinner, or anytime in-between.
 
 
ZUPPZ di CUCUZZA
 
 
Mangia Bene !!!
 
 
 
RECIPES in GRANDMA BELLINO'S ITALIAN COOKBOOK
 
RECIPES FROM MY SICILIAN NONNA
 
by Daniel Bellino "Z"
 
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