Cucuzza: Summer's Godzilla Vegetable

A delicious summer vegetable you've never heard of

It seems as though our produce gets more diminutive with each passing season, with "baby" this and "micro" that littering our vegetable lexicon. But one ambitious squash is breaking the mold–literally.

Like the Shaq of your garden, pale-green cucuzza squash (also known as gagootz or simply goots) can measure more than two feet in length. And its size matches its flavor: Although it's not as sweet as the average summer squash, it tastes richer and nuttier.

Restaurants have quickly embraced these behemoths: At Astoria's Vesta, cucuzza from Brooklyn Grange meets tomatoes and garlic in "Farmer Ben's Cucuzza Soup," so named after the rooftop farm's Ben Flanner.

Chef Dave Gould of Fort Greene favorite Roman's is leaving no part of his squash behind. On his perpetually changing menu, braised cucuzza with tomato and fennel one night might give way the next night to ricotta-and-cucuzza ravioli, a dish that integrates the squash's own vine, which can be sautéed like chard.

And despite its size, cucuzza is relatively low maintenance: Home cooks needn't worry about removing seeds since they stay tender and edible even as the squash matures. Look for this strong grower at farmers' market and on menus throughout September.

Cucuzza is available at the Migliorelli Farm stand in Union Square Greenmarket (Wed., Fri. and Sat, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.), the Brooklyn Grange stand (37-18 Northern Blvd., Queens; Tues. and Thurs., 3 to 7 p.m.), the Queens Farm stand at Vesta (21-02 30th Ave., Queens; Sat., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and at the Roberta's farm stand (261 Moore St., Brooklyn; Sun., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.).