Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Pasta with Fried Zucchini Flowers and Radicchio

My last post was called Here Come the Zucchini. Well, they're here -- in full force, and like many of you, we're always looking for great new ways to use them. This week for Meatless Monday, Cyn put together a wonderful pasta dish using not only the zucchini but garlic, Greek oregano, Tuscan rosemary, Thai basil, Italian parsley, chives and zucchini flowers all from our garden!

If you've never cooked with or had zucchini flowers you really need to give them a try. If you grow your own zucchini, you will have these beautiful yellow flowers on every vine.

They're used in a variety of ways in Italian cooking and we've done one of the simplest but most delicious preparations here -- a light batter deep fry.




Ingredients 


Pasta
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp shallots, sliced thin (half a medium)
  • salt
  • 2 big pinched of crushed red pepper (or to taste)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 cup of white wine -- we used an un-oaked Chardonnay
  • 1 medium zucchini, whole and unpeeled
  • 1/2 pound linguine (or other long pasta of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup Better than Bullion "no chicken" chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 small head of radicchio julienned
  • good squeeze of fresh lemon
For Fried Squash Blossom
  • 2/3 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup carbonated beverage (we used Pelligrino water but beer, soda, seltzer or tonic would all work)
  • Vegetable oil - at least 1/2" deep
  • 9-12 zucchini blossoms, stamen snipped out of middle

Preparation (the sauce)

  • In a small saucepan, reduce the white wine to 1/2 cup
  • On a mandolin with thick julienne insert, slice the zucchini the long way to make 'linguine', stopping before you get into the seeds
  • Combine the herbs and chop roughly (finer - more taste)
  •  Add 2 tbsp of butter and the 2 tbsp EVOO to a saute pan on medium low heat
  • Add garlic and shallots, cook slowly until transparent and just starting to brown, add red pepper
  • Add reduced wine and stock to garlic and shallots -- simmer while stirring for 1-2 minutes 
  • Keep warm while cooking pasta

Preparation (the zucchini flowers)
  • Heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees F in a deep fry pan
  • Prepare a light batter by mixing the flour and carbonated beverage together with a whisk. Important: the carbonated beverage MUST BE COLD. You are looking for a consistency just slightly more thick than heavy cream.
  • Drag each zucchini flower in the batter and fry immediately. They will take no more than 30 seconds per side

  • Remove them from the oil as they finish and drain on a rack above a pan or paper towels. Salt immediately as they come out of the oil.

     Final Preparation

    • Cook the pasta about 3/4 of the way done
    • Remove the pasta from the water, add to the reserved sauce
    • Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce and zucchini
    • Simmer until pasta reaches your preferred level of doneness
    • Add chopped herbs, sliced radicchio and simmer for another minute
    • Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and the remaining 1 tbsp of butter
    • Top pasta with zucchini flowers
    • Salt to taste

    The creamy pasta combines perfectly with the slight bitterness of the radicchio and the crispiness of the zucchini flowers. Together with the garlic and wine sauce, this dish screams summer. Buon appetito!

    8 comments:

    1. This sounds wonderful, Al! I've seen a number of recipes for zucchini flowers before, but I've never attempted and I've never tried them. They look so light and crispy and marvelous... This makes me wish I loved gardening...

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    2. How marvelous! I have never done them myself but you have really inspired me!

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    3. This looks really delicious! I've never cooked the zucchini flowers, but am going to give it a try.

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    4. I'm drooling! This recipe sounds delicious and I really want to try frying the blossoms. Thanks for sharing this Al.

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    5. Looks and sounds like a delicious meal! Love zucchini blossoms (and zucchini). : )

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    6. excellent! Just done some myself!! Such a nice dish and so summery.

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      1. Very nice! Thanks for reading and commenting. I've just started following your Italian Kitchen blog and am enjoying your style.

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