Vince proposed and I practice being a good faux-Sicilian fiancée:
This vegetable I am holding is called a Cucuzza (pronounced "koo-koot-zaa"). It is a Sicilian long squash; similar to zuchinni, but milder in flavor with a hard outer skin. This one is small by all comparisons, since often they grow to be 4 or 5 feet long. This cucuzza was grown by Vince's father, who got the seeds from plants his father brought over from Sicily nearly 50 years ago - cool, huh? When you plant the seeds, you also have to install a trellis over them (check it out here) so the vine can grow up and the vegetable can drop down.
The only way I have eaten this vegetable is in a super simple, but oh-so-delicious soup. Below is how I made it:
Chop the cucuzza into manageable sections and with a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off.
Also chop up onions (in this case 3) and garlic (for my preference, about half a head).
Sauté all three together, season with salt & pepper until soft & translucent.
(I like it a little spicy, so I also added a pinch of crushed red pepper).
Add either 3 fresh home-grown tomatoes, peeled and seeded - then chopped (yum!) or the equivalent in a can. Add the tomatoes and 4 cups vegetable broth. Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer for at least 30 minutes to develop the flavors. Right at the end add a handful of broken spaghetti, and cook until al dente.
To serve: Add a heaping spoonful of grated parmesan, slivered basil and crusty bread on the side - oh! don't forget a glass of vino!
Buon Appetito a Tutto!