I love spring not just for the flowers and the leaves on the trees, but for the food it brings: strawberries, asparagus and courgette/zucchini blossoms… Courgette (or zucchini as they are known in the US) blossoms are sometimes fried in Italian kitchens, and are sometimes paired with pasta to make a very delicate sauce. I’d heard about my great grandmother (who was from Italy) making fried zucchini blossoms, but I hadn’t tried them until I stumbled across them in a farmer’s market a few years ago. They go well with pasta, but the flavour is delicate so be careful not to overwhelm. I normally saute them in a little margarine or olive oil and then serve with fresh basil, vegan parmesan, and pasta, but I tried them recently with caramelised onion. It was a great addition, but can easily overwhelm the courgette blossoms, so I’d go easy on the onions (or leave them out if preferred).
Courgette Blossom and Caramelised Onion Pasta
- 500 g/1 lb farfalle or penne, cooked and drained
- 1 onion, cut into thin strips and caramelised (see guide on caramelising onions here)
- 2 tbsp vegan margarine, or 2-3 tsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 4 zucchini blossoms cut into strips, and stim and stamen removed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 tsp dried Italian herb mix, optional
- 2-3 tsp vegan parmesan, optional
- Prepare caramelised onions and set aside.
- Over low heat, melt butter. Once melted, add the zucchini blossoms, fresh basil and the herb mix, and cook 5-7 minutes until the blossoms and basil wilt. While cooking, prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package.
- Once the blossoms and the basil have wilted and the flavours infused in the butter, remove from heat. Pour the mixture over the pasta, adding a few sprinklings of vegan parmesan and the caramelised onions, and mix. Serve with more vegan parmesan on top, if desired.