Next time you’re at the market and buy zucchini, make sure to pick up some zucchini flowers too. (Or, if you have a garden of your own — don’t throw those flowers out when you harvest the zucchini!) Because, while they may be pretty, they’re not only for show. Just ask the Italians.
It seems that nearly every Italian family has their own way of cooking up the bright yellow flowers. Toss them onto salads or into pastas. Or batter and fry them up. But one of our favorite recipes of all for fiori di zucca? Chef Silvia’s Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with Ricotta Cheese and Basil from our Cooking under the Tuscan Sun tour. Here’s how she makes six servings of this beautiful and delicious dish.
Fiori di Zucca (Zucchini Flowers)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cook method: Bake
- 18 flowers
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 200 grams (8 oz) ricotta cheese
- 2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsps Parmesan cheese
- 2 Zucchini
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsps bread crumbs
Ingredients: For the Green Sauce
- 1 bunch of basil
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 bunch of mint
- 2 Tbsps pine nuts
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsps Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs, hard-boiled
1. Wash the flowers thoroughly. Chef Silvia recommends that they be very fresh and rather large.
2. Clean the zucchini and cut into small cubes.
3. In a frying plan, sauté the garlic until golden, then add the zucchini. Cook for two minutes, adding mint, salt, and pepper.
4. Next prepare the stuffing by mixing ricotta cheese, chopped basil, parmesan, the minted zucchini mixture, one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, egg, bread crumbs, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Open up the flowers with your fingers and fill them carefully with the stuffing using a pastry bag.
6. Arrange the flowers in the baking dish.
7. Bake at 170 C° (325 F°) for about 20 minutes with the extra virgin olive oil and vegetable stock.
8. Next start the green sauce. You will only use the leaves of the herbs (which should be rinsed under the tap and dried with a clean towel or paper towel).
9. Shell the eggs and combine the sauce ingredients with a blender, adding a bit of extra virgin olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice.
10. Season with salt and pepper, taking care not to overpower the delicate aroma of the herbs.
Want to learn more about how to cook with zucchini flowers and other vegetables? Cook with Chef Silvia during our culinary vacations at Cook Under the Tuscan Sun.
See other recipes from Chef Silvia:
By Liz Hall
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