Pasta with Tenerumi        

Pasta con Tenerumi - Pasta chi Tinnirumi      


The tenerumi are the tip, buds, vine tendrils and the end leaves of the long light green plant called Sicilian summer squash or zucchina and cucuzza in Sicilian dialect. 



The small top leaves and buds of the zucchina – called courgette in England- have a very delicate taste, a nice texture and it is a Sicilian dish traditionally prepared in the summer, when the tinnirumi are available.  

In July and August the tinnirumi, also called tenerumi are offered in farmers markets, in areas where American-Sicilians live.  

This dish is easy to prepare and requires few ingredients.  

Buy fresh tinnirumi and if you store them for a few hours, keep them in the refrigerator, wrapped in a wet kitchen rag.  


Serves 4 to 6  




·        2 bunches tinnirumi, about 1 lb.   

·        12 oz. spaghetti broken in small pieces less than 1 inch   

·        4 ripe fresh tomatoes or ¾ cup imported peeled tomatoes   

·        2 garlic cloves, crushed   

·        3 tablespoons of olive oil   

·        6 oz. of diced caciocavallo cheese, or your preferred cheese   

·        Salt and pepper   




Discard any discolored or damaged leaves and most of the curly tendrils; cut the tinnirumi into 1 inch strips, utilizing the leaves, the buds and the tender part of the stems;  rinse the tinnirumi 2 or 3 times, until all sand is washed away. Set on the side.  

Wash the tomatoes. Split lengthwise, quarter and remove seeds and some skin. Chop into bits and set on the side.  

In a small pot place the 3 tablespoons of oil and the garlic and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until garlic cloves are golden; add the fresh tomato bits to the garlic, a pinch of salt and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Meanwhile, over high heat, set a 6 quart sauce pot with 3 quarts of water. When water begins to boil, place the tinnirumi in it, add salt to taste and simmer for 15 minutes or until the tinnirumi are tender.   

Keep a pot of boiling water on the side; it may be needed in this preparation.  

Add the pasta to the tenerumi and cook it following the package’s direction. After 3 minutes check for the correct consistency, it should be like minestrone: if it is too dry add some boiling water, if too watery drain some of the liquid.  

When pasta is cooked, taste for salt, add some black pepper; and then stir in the sautéed tomato and the diced cheese.   

Serve hot with extra virgin olive oil on the side.