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Zucchini and Eggs {Cocozelle}

Zucchini and Eggs - A simple, delicious, classic Italian dish that our family called Cocozelle - named after the heirloom zucchini variety.

My husband Jack is back today to tell the story behind this recipe for Zucchini and Eggs – or as his Italian family called it Cocozelle. Here is Jack in his own words:

Zucchini and Eggs is a simple, classic Italian dish and it is often served when summertime’s garden zucchini is plentiful. 

Looking around in cookbooks and online – there are many slang names for this delicious dish.  Each Italian family seems to have their own name for it like ‘gagoots’ or ‘gagooch’ – and often times the name of the recipe is simply someone’s interpretation of an Italian word spoken by a relative in the family who came from ‘the old country.’


Zucchini and Eggs - A simple, delicious, classic Italian dish that our family called Cocozelle - named after the heirloom zucchini variety.

When I was growing up, this zucchini and eggs dish was called Cocozelle (pronounced koo-ka-zeel). Initially, I didn’t know how my parents spelled the name of this recipe – but then my father (aka Grampa) pulled out a seed pack from a drawer and showed me the picture on the front of the package.

Cocozelle is actually a striped, heirloom variety of zucchini – that we just happened to be growing in our own garden this summer! After doing more research, we discovered that the official name is Cocozella di Napoli and the small, baby-sized squash are considered a delicacy in Naples, Italy. It is regarded as one of the best zucchini varieties to cook with because of its low moisture content and rich but mild flavor.

Zucchini and Eggs - A simple, delicious, classic Italian dish that our family called Cocozelle - named after the heirloom zucchini variety.

Regardless of what you call this fantastic dish – I have extremely fond memories of my Aunt Mary making zucchini and eggs. I often raced over to her house on my bike when I knew she was making this – and all these years later, I still remember her kitchen and the flavors of this dish like it was yesterday.

I love this dish, and I hope you will too.


Zucchini and Eggs {Cocozelle}

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups large diced onion
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 ½ pounds fresh zucchini cut into one inch quarter rounds (if possible get the cocozelle which has light stripes running along the squash and has a more delicate flavor and thinner skin)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2½ tablespoons milk (use whole milk if possible but not crucial)


  1. In a large sauté pan, melt butter in oil over medium heat and add onions, salt and pepper. Cook for about ten minutes and add garlic. Cook for another five to ten minutes or until onions are nice and browned and caramelized. Remove onions to a bowl but leave fat in the pan.
  2. Add zucchini and sauté over medium high for about five minutes or until tender.
  3. While zucchini is cooking, mix eggs with milk and set aside.
  4. Once zucchini finishes cooking, add onions back in, reduce to medium and add egg mixture.
  5. Turn with a spatula or wooden spoon and cook just until the eggs are scrambled.
  6. Taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Zucchini and Eggs - A simple, delicious, classic Italian dish that our family called Cocozelle - named after the heirloom zucchini variety.

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  1. I love it! It’s like a deconstructed frittata!

  2. I am Italian and can’t believe I have never heard of this dish before! What a wonderful combination (oh, and pretty too!)

  3. I have never heard of this before but it is right up my alley! I can’t wait to make this!

  4. I have never had this before but it looks delicious!!

  5. zucchini and eggs is a childhood favorite of mine!

  6. Gagoots. I love it. 😀 And Cocozelle is new to me! My husband loves zucchini so I’ll be on the lookout for it.

  7. I’ve never had that type of zucchini! Will have to look out for it.

  8. I love zucchini…and eggs…but, I’ve never tried them together quite like this! Sounds delicious!

  9. I love how simple and delicious this meal is. I have everything to make it, and I think it’s going to be breakfast tomorrow!

  10. I’ve never heard of this dish but what a fab way to use up all the zucchini from the garden!

  11. I love your fond memory of your aunt making this dish. Sounds interesting — I have never had anything like it before. Will have to give it a try!

  12. My nana always made coo-git-zeel and for a long time my mom and I have been trying to figure out if this was an Italian recipe or something she made up. I went to Italy and asked about it there but they didn’t know and then I looked up zucchini and eggs and found your recipe and pronunciation which is so close to what we have been saying. I live in Boston too (though not originally (NY)).

    • Hi Lauren – We can totally relate to your story! (We wondered if the name of this dish was something my in-laws made up too!) Hope this is as delicious as your nana’s!

  13. To finish off the abundance of zucchini I received, my mother suggested I cook them up for breakfast into her favorite dish, Cocozelle. Of course, she didn’t know the name of this dish…she only knew that her mother would make it for an old family friend who had immigrated from “the old country” and to this day she still loves Italian Scrambled Eggs & Zucchini. I couldn’t help myself…I added sun dried tomatoes and thyme as it cooked and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese at the end. MmmmMmm…..

  14. So simple yet such a nice and tasty way to add zucchini into your meals. Try it with a handful of chiffonade of basil at the end! Adds an incredible layer of freshness!!