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Courgettes, the lightest and most versatile vegetables

Courgettes are among the most popular vegetables in Italian cuisine. This is due to the presence of crops along the entire peninsula and to the great botanical tradition that characterises the vegetable. Courgettes are quite simple to grow, although they require medium-soft soil and suffer a little from harsh climates. The nutritious qualities of courgettes, in addition to their adaptability, were what made them successful.

A very low, almost negligible caloric intake is accompanied by an extraordinary wealth of vitamins and mineral salts. The reference is to vitamin C, as well as magnesium and zinc. Fats are almost completely absent, but fibres are present. Among other things, one can benefit from the diuretic and cleansing qualities of courgettes.

The varieties of courgettes

There are about ten different types of courgettes that are commonly eaten in Italy; they vary in flavour, colour, form, and taste. Below are the most well-liked ones:

  • Milan Black. Its unusually dark colour gives it a cucumber-like appearance from the outside. It has a balanced flavour and a cylindrical shape. The consistency determines a marked versatility; therefore, it can be cooked in many ways.
  • Ortolana of Faenza. It is characterised by its light green colour, its slightly elongated pear shape, and its sweet taste. Because of its high water content, it works great as a condiment.
  • Sicilian. It is a very thin variety with a tapered shape and is characterised by a strong flavour. It is usually stewed along with other vegetables.
  • Naples Stripes. It is characterised by dark green stripes. It has a remarkable consistency and an intense flavour.
  • Trieste White. The colour is white, and the pulp is extremely soft and sweet. It is mainly used as a condiment.
  • Apulian stripes. It is similar to the Naples stripes but larger. Delicious in pasta sauce, paired with meat-based dishes (bacon, for instance).
  • Piacenza Round. It is mainly characterised by its decidedly round shape. It is usually stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumbs and capers.

How to use them in the kitchen

Good, versatile vegetables with excellent nutritional properties. First of all, they are almost completely fat-free, which favourably affects the caloric intake, which stands at 10 kcal per 100 grammes, practically a record in the plant world. They are also rich in vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system, and antioxidants, which act as anti-cancer agents. They also provide potassium, magnesium, calcium, and folic acid. Large amounts of water and fibre, found in courgettes, also assist digestive processes and aid in the resolution of even the mildest episodes of constipation by detoxifying and purifying the body.

They stand out for their versatility, which is why there are numerous recipes with courgettes that use this precious vegetable as the main ingredient. Courgettes can act as the main ingredient in side dishes (such as the delicious sautéed courgettes) and vegetarian appetisers, as well as a supporting ingredient for first courses. Nonetheless, they can enhance savoury pies. They can even replace aubergines in the famous Parmigiana. Below, you will find a wide selection of courgette-based recipes; you will be overwhelmed with options!

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