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Pasta with tenerumi Palermo style: discovering a typical product of the island

pasta with tenerumi

Tenerumi are the leaves of the snake courgette as well as the protagonists of the famous Sicilian recipe for pasta with tenerumi.

Pasta with tenerumi is a Sicilian summer soup originating from the Palermo area and then spreading throughout the island. The term tenerumi has no equivalent in Italian and refers to the more tender leaves of the snake courgette plant , a variety widely cultivated in Sicily. In fact, on the island it is not uncommon to find these tender green leaves for sale directly at fruit and vegetable stalls, perfect for preparing pasta.

The original recipe includes, in addition to tenerumi and courgettes, also the tomato peaks and parcels sauce , a typical Sicilian preparation made with peeled tomatoes, garlic and chilli pepper. Another characteristic note of Sicilian pasta with tenerumi lies precisely in the shape of the pasta: tradition in fact requires broken spaghetti.

pasta with tenerumi
pasta with tenerumi

How to prepare the pasta recipe with tenerumi

  1. First prepare the peaks and parcels sauce . In a saucepan, heat the oil with the peeled and diced garlic, the chilli pepper and then add the tomatoes. Mash them and season with salt and pepper, leaving the sauce to cook for about 20 minutes , until it thickens.
  2. In the meantime, clean the tenerumi , keeping only the leaves. Wash them well under running water and cut them into strips. Also wash the courgette, peel it and cut it into chunks.
  3. At this point you can blanch the tender meats and courgettes separately in a pan of salted water (just cover the vegetables with the liquid) for about 5 minutes and then add them to the sauce together with more water and the broken spaghetti, or proceed with a more traditional version of the dish.
  4. Add the courgettes and tenerumi to the pan with the tomato sauce, then cover them with water and leave to cook for 25-30 minutes .
  5. When all the vegetables have been cooked and part of the liquid has been reduced, add the pasta (always in the same pot).
  6. Once cooked, season with salt and pepper and serve.
  7. Serve the pasta with tenerumi piping hot, completing with diced caciocavallo or, otherwise, a generous grating of salted ricotta.

And here is a video recipe very similar to our preparation:

Try another typical Sicilian first course, the tasty pasta with sardines ! You will go from a seafood recipe to a more typical inland one but we guarantee that you won't know which one to choose!


The pasta with tenerumi can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days . Like many of these recipes, it tastes even better reheated!

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