Chicken & Cucuzza ("Googootz") Giambotta

What the heck is she talking about now?

See what you can learn on the internet? Today's lesson is about googootz, which I just learned about too.

I always thought the word "googootz" meant "dummy" in a sort of endearing way.
"Hey Googootz, get off the road!" (basically, you are a nice moron).

Well, Mr. Meatball, a Brooklyn guy who grows googootz in his garden gave me a lesson on "googootz".
He makes cakes with it, stews it, fries it, you name it.

So, what is this "googootz"?

It is an Italian gourd that is really called CUCUZZA. They are huge, long and I think, really ugly.

I never really knew what they were, I always thought they were just Italian zucchini, but they are much longer (like 4 times the size!) and light green in color.

I have to confess. I lifted this cucuzza from the man next to me in the community garden. It was laying on the ground, along with a million other giant things......once it hits the ground, isn't it ok to take it? He can have any of my tomatoes or Brussels sprouts, ground or not.

So for dinner this week, I took Mr. Meatball's suggestion and made a Googootz Giambotta, which is a Southern Italian vegetable stew (but he adds chicken, and so did I). It was really easy and delish. So if you can find (or steal) a cucuzza, I recommend you make this vegetable stew, and if you can't find a googootz, then just use zucchini!
(be careful, most of them are too long to hide in your jacket!).

I added all the vegetables that I had left in my fridge from the week, and though this wasn't a pretty looking stew (the vegetables get mushy and lose their color), it smelled and tasted heavenly. The perfect meal for a rainy summer Sunday.

(PS You are not supposed to eat the skin of the cucuzza, it's tough, so make sure you peel it).

Giambotta with Cucuzza & other Summer Vegetables:
(use whatever you have on will all come together to make a beautiful vegetable stew).

1 cucuzza, peeled and cut into 1" chunks (if you can find one!)
1 medium green zucchini, sliced into rounds (leave skin on)
3 small Italian skinny eggplants, cut into chunks (leave skin on)
1 red onion, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, cut into 1" pieces
2 good quality Italian sausages, sliced (optional, but do it)
6 boneless chicken thighs (optional, but do it)
1 cup of chicken stock or white wine
kosher salt & pepper
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Season the chicken thighs (with or without skin is fine) with kosher salt & pepper, and brown them in some olive oil in the largest Dutch oven you have. About 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the pot and set aside.

Add the sausage pieces and a little more olive oil and cook a minute or two until the pink is out of the meat. Remove and transfer to the bowl with the chicken.

Add some more olive oil to the pot and throw in all of the vegetables and sprinkle with about 1-2 tablespoons of KOSHER salt (not table salt). Cook about 8 minutes until vegetables are softening.

Add the sausage and chicken back into the pot with the vegetables and add the stock or wine with the fresh rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil and then bring down to a simmer for about 30-40 minutes until the meat is cooked through.

Let the stew rest a few minutes then either serve over rice or just in bowls.

Even better the next day.



Allison said…
This looks delicious! I'll be combing the area for some googootz, but something tells me in PA dutch country over here I'm going to have to settle for zucchini from my garden. I'm sure it'll be just as tasty. Thanks for sharing!
The JR said…
Thanks for the lesson!
Stacey Snacks said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said…
My grandfather used to call us kids "googootz" when we were little, I had no idea what it meant! How funny!

Ciao Chow Linda said…
Oh you are a riot. I can't believe you filched that cucuzza. Did you see the story in the Times the other day about people snitching things from community gardens? They must have had you in mind. I love the giambotta you made with it.
Joanne said…
My dad spends a lot of time talking about cucuzza for some reason, but I'm pretty sure he's never actually had one. I'll have to show him this post!
SarahB said…
My neighbors (Italian) used to cure this somehow and make a sweet filling for cookies out of it! They were my favorites!
Mister Meatball said…
I can see that it's time for me to put in an electric fence around my googootz trellis -- IN THE COMMUNITY GARDEN!!!

Nice work. Looks better than mine.
You are so funny! They are a bit obscene looking aren't they? Every time I see them I'm reminded of my aunts and uncles when they were in there prime they couldn't wait for the googootz! Nice job on the capture!
Karen said…
Thanks for the memories! My grandfather used to call me Googootz when I was a an endearing way of course!
Dewi said…
Stacey darling, I have no idea how hilarious you can be. I love this side of you :)

I've never seen any summer squash this long. To me, it looks so pretty, and I want to plant this too next summer. I wonder if I can find the seeds?

Anyway, your stew sounds and looks really scrumptious!
Anonymous said…
My grandmother was an immigrant from Sicily and always made the best zucchini fritters she called "googootz". Your blog made me realize the fritters she was trying to make were supposed to be out of "cucuzza" but she replaced ingredients to what she could find locally. We never understood what if "googootz" was really a word or what.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for a wonderful post.
Cucuzza squash is called "dudhi" or "opo" squash in ethnic stores. They are the same in taste only the size is different shorter and rounder. There is a variety which is round and flat and tastes exactly like a cucuzza. We grow or have grown all of them in our garden in the Southern US.