Years ago we traveled to Italy with my parents, Triton’s mother, and my brother Chris on a tour from Venice all the way down to Sicily. While in Rome, we stopped into a little trattoria near the Vatican for lunch. I ordered the most amazing pasta dish made from zucchini blossoms and a touch of saffron. When I asked my mom to recreate it back home,  she made up this Pasta with Zucchini Blossoms recipe. And for you vegetarians in the crowd, this one is meatless!

cooking with zucchini flowers

Fresh from the farmers market, zucchini flowers are slightly sweet and so delicious.

Zucchini blossoms have become more popular recently, popping up in restaurants across the country. We particularly love the Stuffed Fried Squash Blossoms at Cucina Urbana in San Diego, made with lemon ricotta stuffing. But seldom have I seen these blossoms featured in a pasta dish other than in Rome (and my mama’s kitchen).

While shopping at the farmers market recently, I found an organic produce stand selling zucchini blossoms. The woman working the booth said she has not seen them sold elsewhere, and she had convinced her family members to sell the blossoms while in season. I readily bought up two baskets full, eager to make my mom’s version of this pasta favorite.

sliced zucchini rounds with flowers

I used a mandolin to slice the zucchini, but any old knife will do.

This is a very subtle dish. The blossoms give this pasta a fresh garden flavor, and the saffron and thyme add something almost sweet in taste – almost. Combined with the cream sauce and cheese, the end result is surprisingly simple and light.

Pasta with Zucchini Blossoms Recipe

Since zucchini blossoms are seasonal and only available in late Spring and early Summer, be on the lookout for these gems. These are typically the flowers stemming from the plant that do not have a squash attached. Combined with fresh pasta (we get ours from Assenti’s Pasta in San Diego), this dish is out of this world!

Pasta With Zucchini Blossoms

Years ago we traveled to Italy with my parents, Triton’s mother, and my brother Chris on a tour from Venice all the way down to Sicily. While in Rome, we stopped into a little trattoria near the Vatican for lunch. I ordered the most amazing pasta dish made from zucchini blossoms and a touch of saffron. When I asked my mom to recreate it back home, she made up this Pasta with Zucchini Blossoms recipe. And for you vegetarians in the crowd, this one is meatless!

Course Main Course
Keyword Zucchini
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion sliced into thin strips
  • 3 small zucchinis cut into rounds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 small lemon grated zest
  • several saffron threads crushed
  • fresh thyme chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 - 15 zucchini blossoms trimmed and halved lengthwise (I bought 2 baskets and came home with 16)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb fresh pasta we prefer linguini for this recipe
  • 1 1/2 cups grated romano cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Boil large pot of salted water for pasta, but don’t cook it until the last minute because it will only need 1-2 minutes. Fresh pasta cooks f-a-s-t!

  2. Combine 1/4 of the olive oil with onion, zucchini, salt and pepper, and cook until tender – about 3-4 minutes tops. Stir in the vegetable stock, lemon zest, saffron and thyme and heat until just bubbling. Adjust heat to low and add cream and zucchini blossoms, mixing gently as blossoms wilt.

  3. Cook pasta al dente and drain, immediately returning pasta to the pot and adding butter, 1 cup of cheese and the other 1/4 cup of olive oil. Stir and spoon into bowls. Ladle zucchini blossom mixture over pasta and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Add a pinch of parsley on the top and serve with crusty bread and a nice glass of Italian rosato (rosé).

Just like in Rome! Or at least in my mama’s kitchen.

 

happy senior couple on gondola in Venice

Mom was proud of her Italian heritage, and we were able to visit Italy as a family for a grand tour.