Pasta with tenerumi or pasta cu li tinniruma is a delicious and traditional dish from Sicily in southern Italy.
Tenerumi are the tender leaves and shoots of the long, thin zucchini plant, which are popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. The dish is simple to prepare, but the flavor of the tenerumi and the combination with pasta are what set it apart.
It’s typical of the Palermo region.
You’re wondering how I found the tenerumi here in Philadelphia.
Well, a couple of American friends of mine with Italian origins, have built their vegetable garden by sowing Italian and Sicilian plants and among these also the long zucchini.
This morning they surprised me by bringing me a bag of tenerumi plus a very tender long courgette.
How to make Pasta with Tenerumi
To make pasta with tenerumi, begin by washing and trimming the zucchini plant’s tendrils. Cut them into small pieces included the zucchini (the long cucuzza) and boil in salted water until they are tender. Drain them and set them aside.
In a separate saucepan saute` garlic and peeled tomatoes until became a smooth sauce in oil.
If you want a spicy kick, add a pinch of chili pepper flakes. Then add the leaves and sauté for a few more minutes until they are well coated with sauce.
Cook your pasta according to package instructions until it’s al dente.
My recipe, as per the tradition of the house, calls for the use of chopped spaghetti, cooked in the same water in which the tenerumi were boiled.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the pan with the tenerumi. Toss the pasta with the tenerumi and tomatoes mixture until it’s well coated. To make a silky sauce, toss everything together, adding a little of the reserved pasta water if necessary.
Finish with an extra-virgin olive oil drizzle and a sprinkle of grated Ricotta salata cheese.In Palermo it uses served with caciocavallo cheese.
This dish is a light, healthy, and refreshing meal ideal for a summer lunch or dinner. It’s also an excellent way to use up zucchini tendrils from your garden or from the farmers market. Try it out and savor the flavors of southern Italy!
Pasta with Tenerumi (Pasta cu li Tinniruma)
- 2 bunches of tenerumi
- 12.34 oz chopped spaghetti
- 10 oz peeled tomatoes 10 oz
- 1 clove of garlic
- extra virgin olive oil
- grated salted ricotta
- Wash and trim the cucuzza-zucchini plant’s tendrils.
- Cucuzza should be washed, peeled, quartered, and chopped into large chunks.
- Add the cleaned tenerumi shoots to the boiling water with the cucuzza.
- Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the cucuzza can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Drain them and set them aside.
- In a separate saucepan saute` garlic and oil peeled tomatos until became a smooth sauce.
- Then add the tenerumi leaves and sauté for a few more minutes until they are well coated with sauce.
- Cook the spaghetti pasta according to package instructions until it’s al dente.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the pan with the tenerumi.
- Toss the pasta with the tenerumi.
- Add a little of the reserved pasta water if necessary.
- Finish with an extra-virgin olive oil drizzle and a sprinkle of grated Ricotta salata cheese.