Zucca with Garlic Anchovy Sauce and Mint

Zucca is a type of Italian squash shaped like a pumpkin but with flesh more like butternut squash. I’ve never seen zucca in the U.S. but have tried this recipe with butternut squash with good results. The agghiata sauce adds a garlicky, fishy, salty dimension that along with the sweetened vinegar and mint complements the pan fried squash for a very unique flavor profile. Can be served warm as a side dish or at room temperature as part of an antipasto plate.

Zucca gialla con l’agghiata (salsa d’aglio)
Italian squash with garlic sauce
Based on the recipe in La Cucina Siciliana by Alba Allotta

1 lb zucca if available or butternut squash if not
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil for sautéing
2 anchovy filets, rinsed and chopped
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 t sugar
1 T capers
1 T chopped mint
Salt to taste

Dissolve the sugar into the vinegar and set aside. Peel and slice the squash in ¼” slices. In a skillet heat the olive oil and fry the squash slices over medium high heat until soft and golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side. Remove the slices from the pan and place on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan. Add the minced garlic and anchovy to the pan and sauté over medium heat breaking the anchovy up into the garlic, 1-2 minutes. Add the sugared vinegar to the pan and loosen any bits of garlic and anchovy stuck to the pan, letting the vinegar partially evaporate for 30 seconds to a minute. Add the capers and mint to the pan. Stir to combine. Return the squash slices to the pan and stir gently to coat with the sauce. Correct the salt – it may not need additional salt as the anchovy and capers are already salty. This dish mellows as it sits and is best served slightly warm.

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