Minestra di Tenerumi – Soup with Sicilian Courgette Leaves

This year we decided to try for the first time to grow in our garden the “Serpente di Sicilia”, a very nice and particular vegetable of the Gourd family that is typical of Sicily.

Its scientific name is Lagenaria longissima.


But the particularity of this specific vegetable it’s also that its leaves are edible, and actually there is a traditional recipe of the Sicilian peasant tradition with those, that in the local dialect are called Tenerumi.

Indeed the leaves are very soft and tender, but important is to collect the smaller ones exactly for that reason.

This is another of the many beautiful and good vegan recipes of the Italian regional cuisine…it’s not needed to look for “superfood” or trendy and overpriced ingredients from the other side of the world…Sicilians for example eat tenerumi since always, and usually at zero cost 😀

Let’s see!


INGREDIENTS (2 people):

  • 140 g pasta (usually broken spaghetti, I used broken reginette/mafalde)
  • 2 big bunches of Lagenaria longissima leaves
  • 400 g of canned peeled tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes too, but remove the peel)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • some fresh basil leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt


  1. First of all collect the leaves, then put them in cold water to wash them. Leave it there some minutes.
  2. Take a pan and start to prepare the so called “Picchi Pacchi“: heat the extra virgin olive oil and add the garlic. When the garlic gets some color remove it, and add the peeled tomatoes, and let it simmer 10-15 minutes until it gets a bit thicker.
  3. In a larger pot boil the water (I didn’t measure, about 3-4 fingers of water, probably about 1 liter or a bit more), add the salt and then add the leaves, cut in pieces.
  4. After 3-4 minutes add also the pasta. Wait that the water starts to boil again and then add also the “picchi pacchi” sauce (if the water is too much, you can remove some, the texture of this dish is a thick soup, not too much liquid but neither too thick).tenerumi_3
  5. When the pasta is almost ready, control if it’s salted enough, and add also the freshly ground black pepper and some fresh basil leaves.
  6. Serve it immediately, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and if you would like also a nice sprinkle of Pecorino cheese! Enjoy 🙂

PS: if you would like, you can also add a little bit of the courgette itself.









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