It’s slang for cucuzza…a large zucchini-like squash.
Many first heard the word “googootz” on the last episode of The Sopranos. It was Tony’s pet name for son, AJ. Come on, without even knowing what it is, it’s a fun word to say. It was certainly a word I heard around the house growing up, not only as a term of endearment but as a favorite on the dinner table.
Cucuzza, as it’s properly known, is actually a gourd with flavor properties similar to those of zucchini. They can grow to lengths of three feet, literally, and are difficult to find in major American grocery stores. A dedicated Italian grocery store or a farmer’s market are probably the only places you can find them.
My favorite preparation for cucuzza has always been just breaded and fried. It is also great sautéed, used in a vegetable-based pasta, or substituted in any recipe calling for zucchini.
Obviously a favorite of Italian singer Louis Prima, he sang the veggie’s praises in the song My Cucuzza.