I have to admit that I’m sucker for zucchini. I like the clean taste of zucchini when added to soups, made into a risotto, or grilled with good extra virgin olive oil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. My preference for zuchhini, however, is not shared with many southern Italians and I was especially surprised to find the great disdain for zuchhini or squash (at times called cucuzza <pronounced ko-KOO-tza> in Calabria. The disdain probably emanates from the fact that the vegetable needs serious manipulation in order to produce decent flavor.
Nevertheless, we recently cooked up a batch of grilled squash or cucuzza and the following is our simple recipe. A cucuzza looks like a smooth, light green, pale zucchini with a long curvature and can be between 6 inches and 4 feet in length. In Italy, folks use the term cucuzza to refer to many types of squash and zuchhini.
Cut the squash or zucchini into 5/16 of an inch pieces (length wise as show in the final product picture above) and place in a large bowl. Add plenty of Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and mix (by hand) well. Next, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss, again, by hand. Grill for 1-2 minutes on each side depending on strength of your grill or indoor grill pan. You’ll now the squash or zucchini are done when they begin to give a little and exude a bit of their liquid. On a large serving plate begin layering the squash or zucchini, with each layer receiving a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, grated cheese, and either parsley or basil (whatever you have in the house). The dish makes a great side for any meat.