Practically every part of the zucchini plant is edible. Sicilians make soup out of the green leaves and vines, known as tenerumi. Zucchini and other large squash flowers are stuffed with meat or cheese and fried or poached. The zucchini themselves are used in countless preparations.
Occasionally, I find pale green romanesco zucchini in my farmer's market. These are more flavorful than the familiar dark green variety and less watery. The most important thing about zucchini is to choose the smallest ones you can find. They have fewer and more tender seeds and more flavor. The gigantic zucchini generous gardeners are always trying to foist on unsuspecting friends are watery and all but useless.
Winter squashes are sold by the slice in Italy. The varieties used there are often very large, but their texture is similar to the hard squashes found in the United States. Most of the time I rely on butternut squash, which are sweet and buttery, though acorn, Hubbard, or pumpkin can also be used.
From "1,000 Italian Recipes." Copyright 2004 by Michele Scicolone. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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