Last weekend, we went to the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, because the Long Beach Farmers’ Market was closed because of the marathon. While there, I found some zucchini blossoms which aren’t usually sold in Long Beach (we have options for which vendor to buy something from but there isn’t a whole lot of variety in types of produce). I spent most of the week trying to make something with them but we kept getting side tracked with other options for dinner (we, uh, mostly ate out this week).
I had never actually eaten zucchini blossoms before but they always looked good on television (I have a confession to make: I watch way too much of Molto Mario). So I had no idea if I’d like them or what the best way to prepare them was. So I just picked something that looked reasonably good. I also needed something where the pickier eater in the family would have something to eat (it bothers me when she makes instant macaroni & cheese or a microwavable pizza when I’m at home) no matter what.
So I ended up making pasta because at worst we could eat the pasta. And the pasta was quite good. It was good enough that this dish would be good without the zucchini blossoms. Angela described it as being both light and heavy at the same time and I’d have to agree. It had body but it wasn’t overly heavy and filling. It was really just a nice pasta dish.
I did like the zucchini blossoms but the blossoms themselves seem to get lost in the sauce of this dish. I believe they add flavor but I’m not sure if this is the best use of the zucchini blossoms themselves (next time I find them I may try stuffing and frying them).
Penne con Fiori di Zucchine (Penne with Zucchini Blossoms)
Adapted from Trattoria Cooking
6 small zucchini flowers with small zucchini attached
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 oz. panchetta, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and black pepper
1/2 pound penne
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Separate the flowers from the zucchini. Remove the stamen (the part inside the flower) and any remaining stem from the flowers and zucchini. Rinse the flowers and zucchini under cold water and dry with paper towels. Cut the flowers into quarters lengthwise. Slice the zucchini thinly.
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 1 minute less than specified by the directions.
- In a large sauce pan, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the panchetta and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, flowers, and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the wine and stir, scrapping any brown bits, until the wine is almost completely reduced, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the broth and the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the sauce is thickened about 4 minutes.
- Add the cooked pasta and cook for one minute more, stirring regularly.
- Serve with parmesan cheese.