Tag Archives: Sicilian summer soup

SICILIAN SUMMER SOUP – made with tendrils of a Sicilian squash

Just a quick post about this easy to make Sicilian soup…..if you can get the ingredients. It is easy if you have a friend called Mariana whose father grows tenerumi in his garden.

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It is a summer dish and red tomatoes, a little garlic (optional) and basil are also added ingredients. Broken spaghetti are used to thicken the soup…when in Sicily you are unlikely to eat soup without pasta.

There was no zucca lunga but I had a few zucchini and the soup  tasted just fine.

You take the long, hard curly tendrils off and use the soft tendrils and soft leaves.

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tenerumi= tendrils

zucca lunga (or zucca serpente) is a long, pale green marrow. The tendrils and green leaves are from this plant.

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There are the greens boiling away. Add a little salt and the broken spaghetti.

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The tomatoes are fried and softened in a little extra virgin olive oil with some garlic and basil – it is just tomato salsa and the tomatoes are left  cut in half.

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Add the tomato mixture on top of the pasta. Drizzle on some good extra virgin olive oil, more basil leaves and some chilli flakes if this is your want.

You will find more photos (including the zucca lunga) and information about this recipe and ingredients on previous posts:

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ZUCCA LUNGA SICILIANA – long, green variety of squash

MINESTRA ESTIVA CON ZUCCA LUNGA SICILIANA, Sicilian Summer soup made with the long, green variety of squash

TENERUMI (and I did not have to go to SICILY to buy it). The Melbourne Showgrounds Farmers Market

KOHLRABI and TENERUMI, shared between cultures of Sicily and Vietnam

MINESTRA DI TENERUMI (Summer soup made with the tendrils of a Sicilian squash)

 

MINESTRA ESTIVA CON ZUCCA LUNGA SICILIANA, Sicilian Summer soup made with the long, green variety of squash

 

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In Sicilian this squash is called a cucuzza and in Italian I will call it a zucca lunga (long squash), which is what it is, a long serpent like squash. The tender leaves and tendrils of this plant are called tenerumiand I have written about these previously because both are typically loved by Sicilians and commonly used to make a refreshing summer soup (it could also be classified as a wet pasta dish).

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The zucca tastes a little like zucchini (from the same family) and like all squashes it is a summer crop.

As a vegetable, this very long, pale green marrow is rather bland, but to a Sicilian it is referred to as delicate; it is the combinations of flavours that give this soup the unique, sweet, fresh taste – Sicilians say the soup is rinfrescante – refreshing and will reconstitute balance in the body.

Unless you live in Sicily you are unlikely to be able to purchase these. Do not despair if you do not know a nice Sicilian who grows this produce – you can use zucchini and a greater amount of basil to make a similar soup – it will not be the same, but very pleasant.

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See previous Posts:

MINESTRA DI TENERUMI (Summer soup made with the tendrils of a Sicilian squash)

KOHIRABI and TENERUMI, shared between cultures of Sicily and Vietnam

FRESH PRODUCE (and I did not have to go to SICILY to buy it). The Melbourne Showgrounds Farmers Market

According to Giuseppe Coria in Profumi di Sicilia, the origins of the simple soup are probably from Ragusa and the southeastern part of Sicily. Here it was (and maybe in some households it still is) made only with boiled squash, its leaves, broken spaghetti, salt and pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

According to Coria, it is the people from Palermo who embellished the soup by adding garlic or onion, tomatoes and basil. And this is how I have always cooked it and eaten it in various homes in Sicily.

It is not surprising that this is a soup much appreciated by Inspector Montalbano, the principal character in Andrea Camilleri’s books that have also been made into a successful television series – the stories are set in this very region.

There are variations on how this soup is made: some add a generous sprinkling of pecorino cheese at the end (as in Palermo); others add red chillies during cooking. Diced potatoes are also common in some parts of Sicily.

The next day, we ate the leftovers as a cold soup; it was just as good….and as traditional. It is summer after all.

INGREDIENTS
zucca lunga siciliana (mine was about 25 cms long)
1 large spring onion, sliced
2-3 tomatoes, roughly cut
3 cups of vegetable broth (I used a broth cube, optional) or water
fresh basil leaves, a good handful
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil,
1 cup of spaghetti (broken in small pieces)
Cut the zucca in half, get rid of the seeds and cube it.
Chop the tomatoes.
Sauté the onion in some olive oil for about 1 minute, add the zucca and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes.
Season with salt and pepper, add 2 cups of the stock, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the tenerumi, the rest of the stock and some of the basil; bring the contents to the boil.
Cook the pasta in the same pot; add the pasta and cook it until it is al dente.
Add more basil, a drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil and serve.
I appreciate this soup’s fresh taste and only sprinkle only a few chilli flakes on top (or black pepper and I definitely do not use grated cheese; my Sicilian heritage is not from Palermo.

 

ZUCCA LUNGA SICILIANA – long, green variety of squash

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This squash, the green leaves and magnificent sprigs of basil were a gift from a Sicilian friend: her father grew them in his garden. I feel very privileged to be given these precious vegetables. They are not a vegetable that can be easily sourced; I have seen them only once at a market in Melbourne. 

in Sicilian this squash is called a cucuzza and in Italian I will call it a zucca lunga – long squash or zucca serpente – which is what it is, a long serpent like squash. The tender leaves and tendrils of this plant are called tenerumi and I have written about these previously because both are typically loved by Sicilians and commonly used to make a refreshing summer soup (it could also be classified as a wet pasta dish).

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MINESTRA ESTIVA CON ZUCCA LUNGA SICILIANA, Sicilian Summer soup made with the long, green variety of squash

FRESH PRODUCE (and I did not have to go to SICILY to buy it). The Melbourne Showgrounds Farmers Market

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This time I cooked the soup differently than usual. There was more zucca – I used the produce I was given and I also made it in the same pot (in the other recipe which contains more tenerumi and less zucca, two pans are used).

The next day, we ate the leftovers as a cold soup; it was just as good….and as traditional. It is summer after all.

INGREDIENTS
zucca lunga siciliana ( mine was about 25 cms long)
1 large spring onion, sliced
2-3 tomatoes, roughly cut
3 cups of vegetable broth (I used a broth cube, optional) or water
fresh basil leaves, a good handful
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil,
1 cup of spaghetti (broken in small pieces)
PROCESSES
Cut the zucca in half, get rid of the seeds and cube it. 
Chop the tomatoes.
Sauté the onion in some olive oil for about 1 minute, add the zucca and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.  
Add the tomatoes. 
Season with salt and pepper, add 2 cups of the stock, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the tenerumi, the rest of the stock and some of the basil; bring the contents to the boil.
Cook the pasta in the same pot; add the pasta and cook it until it is al dente.
Add more basil, a drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil and serve.

I appreciate this soup’s fresh taste and I sprinkled only a few chilli flakes on top (or use black pepper.)