This soup tastes magnificent, but unless you have a Sicilian friend whose mother grows tenerumi you don’t have a chance!
I have only been lucky once and I was able to buy tenerumi from a Sicilian grower who was selling them at a Farmers’ Market. This was a rare and lucky find!
The tenerumi are only part of that soup and they are the green leaves that you can see in the soup and in the photos below. They are the leaves (together with tendrils in the photo) of a long, snakelike squash (Cucuzza) plant that is grown on trellises. It is a seasonal summer plant.
I have inserted links at the bottom of this post so that you can see what the plants look like and where you can purchase some seeds. Maybe you can plant them in time for next summer!
The other components for the soup are easily identified: ripe tomatoes, garlic and zucchini. There is also fresh basil in the soup, but somehow I have omitted them in the photo.
This time, my Sicilian friend did not bring me the Sicilian Cucuzza but she brought me two types of zucchini that she is growing in her garden and that I have not encountered before – Zucchini Costata Romanesco and Zucchini Tromboncino.
The Zucchini Costata Romanesco are the two at the front of the photo above and in the photo below.
In the main photo, the one behind the Zucchini Costata Romanesco is a Zucchini Tromboncino (means small trumpet in Italian), and you can see why.
And this Zucchino (singular of Zucchini) tasted amazing! It was much longer when my friend brought it but we nibbled away at it raw in salads. It is much sweeter tasting and not at all as watery as the standard Zucchini. It grows on a vine!
Then there was the broth. Interestingly enough adding broth or stock or wine to cooking is not necessarily a common procedure for Sicilian cooking. The broken spaghetti are added to the soup last of all and I need to add, in greater quantities.
So, some links to recipes first. When you read the recipes you will notice that the Tenerumi do not necessarily have to be cooked with the Cucuzza or zucchini, but on this occasion I combined the two.
You will need to have, sufficient broth/water in the pan if you intend to cook the pasta in the soup (this is the usual method). I cooked the pasta separately and then added to each dish last of all. Some like more pasta, some do not…. unheard of in Sicily!
A drizzle on top of good extra virgin olive oil, is always a good thing, on any dish!
Each of the recipes below are different versions of the same soup:
ZUCCA LUNGA SICILIANA long, green variety of squash
MINESTRA DI TENERUMI (Summer soup made with the tendrils of a Sicilian 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 ESTIVA CON ZUCCA LUNGA SICILIANA, Sicilian Summer soup made with the long, green variety of squash
Now for the seeds:
For Zucchini Tromboncino and Zucchini Costata Romanesco look them up in:
And for the Cucuzza: