Lidia Celebrates America|Marinated Winter Squash

Marinated Winter Squash (Zucca Gialla Marinata)

Squash is becoming ever more popular, and I love cooking with it and its fabulous flavor as well. This is a great side dish or appetizer... traditionally the zucca is fried before it is marinated, as I do here, but it is also delicious when grilled or boiled first.

Though I recommend butternut squash, acorn, Hubbard, and other varieties will work as well.

Marinated Winter Squash (Zucca Gialla Marinata) appears in the Lidia's Favorite Recipes cookbook, and is featured in the Homegrown Heroes episode of Lidia Celebrates America.


Prep time: 15 Minutes

Cook time: 15 Minutes

Total time: 30 Minutes

Yield: 6


  • 1 cup apple-cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, or as needed
  • 20 fresh basil leaves


  1. Mix the vinegar, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt together in a small saucepan. Let simmer over high heat until the sauce is reduced by half. Remove from the heat, drop in the garlic slices, and let the marinade cool. Stir in the olive oil.
  2. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, and scrape out all the seeds. Peel the halves, place them cut side down, and cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick half-rounds.
  3. Pour a thin layer of vegetable oil into a large nonstick skillet, and set it over medium-high heat. When the oil sizzles on contact with the squash, fill the pan with a layer of slices, spaced slightly apart. Fry for about 3 minutes on the first side, then flip the slices over. Fry on the second side another 2 or 3 minutes, until the slices are cooked through (easy to pierce with the tines of a fork), crisped on the surface, and caramelized on the edges. Lift out the slices with a slotted spoon, draining off oil, and lay them on paper towels. Sprinkle salt lightly on the hot slices. Fry up all the squash, in batches, the same way.
  4. Arrange a single layer of fried squash in the bottom of a shallow serving dish, large enough to hold all of the squash. Scatter four or five basil leaves on top. Stir up the marinade, and drizzle over the squash a couple of spoonfuls. Scatter some of the garlic slices on the squash, too. Layer all the squash in the dish this way, topping each layer of fried slices with basil leaves, marinade and garlic. All the seasonings should be used; drizzle any remaining marinade over the top layer of squash.
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