Pasta with Tenerumi – Tenerumi is the tender leaves and shoots of the long, thin zucchini plant, popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. The combination of tenerumi and pasta gives a unique flavor to this simple dish.

 It’s typical of the Palermo region.

You’re wondering how I found the tenerumi here in Philadelphia.

Pasta with Tenerumi

Well, a couple of American friends of mine with Italian origins have built their vegetable garden by sowing Italian and Sicilian plants, among which are 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, including the zucchini (the long cucuzza), and boil them in salted water until tender. Drain them and set them aside.

Pasta with Tenerumi
Pasta with Tenerumi

Sauté garlic and peeled tomatoes in a separate saucepan until a smooth oil-based sauce forms. For a spicy kick, add a sprinkle of chili pepper flakes. Then, add the leaves and sauté for a few more minutes, or until thoroughly coated with sauce.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions until it is al dente.

According to family customs, my recipe calls for chopped spaghetti cooked in the same water used to boil the tenerumi.

Spaghetti
Tenerumi

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the pan with the tenerumi. Toss the pasta with the tenerumi and tomato mixture until it’s well-coated. To create a creamy sauce, combine all ingredients and add reserved pasta water as needed.

Finish with an extra-virgin olive oil drizzle and a grated Ricotta Salata cheese sprinkle. In Palermo, it is served with caciocavallo cheese.

Pasta with tenerumi

This light, healthy, refreshing meal is ideal for a summer lunch or dinner. It’s also an excellent way to use zucchini tendrils from your garden or the farmers market. Try it out and savor the flavors of southern Italy!

Pasta with tenerumi and Ricotta Salata Cheese
Pasta with tenerumi

Pasta with Tenerumi (Pasta cu li Tinniruma)

Prep Time 20 mins Cook Time 40 mins Total Time 1 hr Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 4 Best Season: Summer

Description

Pasta with tenerumi or pasta cu li tinniruma is a delicious traditional dish from Sicily in southern Italy.

Ingredients

Instructions

    • 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 tomatoes until they become 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 grated Ricotta Salata cheese sprinkle.
Keywords: Pasta with tenerumi
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