Secret Family Recipe: Italian Garden Stew

I’m probably going to be disowned for sharing this. This recipe goes back at least 4 generations. It has the basic starter to every Italian recipe: olive oil, onions and garlic. I make this for friends when I need to send a meal and, I promise, this will become a weeknight fall staple in your house.

In our house, we call it “Cucuroma”. This probably stems from the name of an Italian squash “cucuzza”. My great-grandfather came to the Cleveland area from Sicily and he loved to cook. We build our gardens around growing the ingredients for Cucuroma.

There are four main ingredients: Zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes and fresh green beans.

The best type of tomatoes to use are the big fat juicy ones. But the day I made this batch, I had tomatoes on the vine. And on busy nights, I’ve even used diced canned tomatoes. The goal is to eat, not satisfy a food critic, right? Let’s get this on the table.

When you’re ready to serve, squeeze in fresh lemon juice (trust me!) This is one of those dishes you can serve hot or cold.

My family would even eat this as a meal – no meat – just this. My mom always said my dad was a skeptic of having only Cucuroma for dinner. But now, he’s seen the light. And the kids? They LOVE it.


“Cucuroma” Italian Vegetable Stew

This is one of our favorite family recipes! It's simple, full of vegetables and good hot or cold. It's a few simple ingredients: tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini and green beans.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • 3 or 4 Zucchini cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 Onion (white or yellow) chopped
  • 3 Potatoes cut into 1" chunks
  • 3 Tomatoes (large ripe) cut into wedges
  • 1 lb Fresh Green Beans trimmed and cut
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil extra virgin
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium high.
  • Add the onion and cook until translucent.
  • Add the cut up potatoes, coating them with the oil and cook them slightly.
  • Add in the tomatoes, zucchini and green beans.
  • Stir in the salt and pepper.
  • Turn heat down to a low simmer and let the vegetables cook until tender and it forms a stew.
  • Add lemon juice before serving.


This recipe is perfect year ’round. But it stems from my grandparents large Italian style garden. The best ingredients are the ones pulled straight from the garden. We have it constantly in the fall, but I still make it through the winter. It’s even good cold! 
Keyword garden vegetables, green beans, italian stew, potato, stew, tomato, zucchini

4 thoughts on “Secret Family Recipe: Italian Garden Stew

  1. Is there some amount of broth or water that goes with this or do the vegetables just lose their moisture to create a stew effect?

  2. My Italian immigrant parents made this with flat “Italian” Green beans. Hard to find nowadays but soooooo good!!

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