If you see a vegetable of this lovely color and interesting shape, you must get it, right? And that is what I did. I am not referring to the eggplant (melanzana), but to the zucchina embracing it. Once I had it in my basket, I knew I would cook some of it with the eggplant and make a soup with the rest. I read that zucchina trombetta (or zucca trombetta) belongs to the species Cucurbita moschata (as does butternut squash).
The following week, I eagerly sought another specimen of zucchina trombetta, but had to wait another week for my provider to have two more zucchine to bring to the market, one of them elegantly shaped like a letter S. They were so pretty it was almost a pity to slice them and cook them. But cook them I did, and another pot of soup was the result.
The lady who grew the zucchine is happy with the result of her experiment, so I am hoping there will be more zucchine trombetta next year, as in any case, this is the end of the season. She and I have been talking also about other interesting kinds of squash, like the zucchina lunga typical of Sicily.
The zucchina trombetta is typical of Liguria (Albenga, to be precise). Its light and bright green color is a pleasure to the eyes. The flesh is pale in color and firm in texture, without seeds. I am sure it is great in many dishes, but probably because the weather turned cold and rainy, soup was what captured my imagination.
I wanted to taste the zucchina's flavor as much as possible, so I kept other ingredients to a minimum.
I chopped half of a rather large red onion (cipolla rossa) and cooked it in a bit of warm olive oil while I was slicing the zucchine (about 1.5 lbs out of the total weight). I added four cups of liquid, which included a bit more than a cup of homemade vegetable stock and the liquid leftover from cooking some beans (about half a cup). The rest was water.
As I mentioned before, I like my soups quite dense, so I tend to hold the liquid at this stage and add more, if needed, after I have puréed the vegetables. I brought the soup to a boil and then cooked for half an hour, until the vegetable were soft. At this point I added the leaves of a twig of fresh marjoram (maggiorana) and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and stirred.
I puréed the soup with my immersion blender and when I tasted it to adjust the seasoning, I was very pleased with the result, in terms of flavor, texture and color. I served it once with some whole-grain Ethiopian barley cooked in my pressure cooker (more on this in an upcoming post) and another time with slices of my homemade bread, lightly toasted.
This is my contribution to edition #209 of Weekend Herb Blogging, an event started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, now administered by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once and hosted this week by Astrid of Paulchen's Foodblog.
Here is the roundup of the event.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the zucchina trombetta audio file [mp3].