Recipes

Cucuzza Bake with Ground Beef, Pasta & Cheese

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Nino Salvaggio
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Serves: 8

In some parts of Italy, the word “cucuzza” is used to refer to squash in general. But whether known as Italian squash, bottle gourd, zucca, suzza melon, tasmania bean or New Guinea bean, its taste is similar to a sweet summer squash (zucchini) and is an edible gourd that can grow three feet long. Cucuzza squash has light green inedible skin and the white flesh contains many seeds. It can be steamed, micro-waved, stuffed, baked, stir-fried, stewed, or used as a substitute in recipes calling for summer squash.

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 2 lbs. Cucuzza Squash, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Oil
  • 1 cup Sweet Onion, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, crushed
  • 1 can Stewed Tomatoes (15 oz.)
  • 1/8 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes, crushed
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Oregano, dry
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Basil, dry
  • To Taste – Salt & Pepper
  • 2 cups Cooked Macaroni Pasta
  • 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a skillet and sauté chopped onions and garlic for one minute.
  2. Add ground beef and brown.
  3. When meat is browned, add stewed tomatoes and season the mixture with crushed red pepper, oregano, basil, salt & pepper.
  4. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. In a separate pan, sauté squash in 1 Tbsp. oil until tender then fold squash into meat mixture and cook for about 10 minutes longer.
  6. Stir in cooked macaroni pasta and turn into an oven proof casserole dish.
  7. Top evenly with shredded cheese and bake at 375° F until cheese is bubbly and browned (approximately 20 minutes).

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