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 hand.....it 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.