Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ricotta and Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Have you ever had stuffed zucchini flowers?    I can probably only count on one hand the amount of times I have had them.  And out of those few times, it has always been at an Italian restaurant in the summer time. So if you are out to eat and they are serving these delicious little delicacies, order some as fast as you can!

We went to the Hudson Farmers Market this weekend for a change.  I'm so happy we switched it up this time because one of the vendors was selling zucchini flowers.  I have always wanted to make these homemade but have never been able to find the fresh flowers.  Once picked, they have a very short shelf life so you will rarely ever find these in a grocery store.  

This was my first time making these and if zucchini flowers were readily available, I would be making these again.  And again.  And again. 

Remove the green leaf "thingys" from the bottom of the flower.  

Remove the stamen from the flower.  Rinse out any remaining pollen. Excuse my wrinkled fingers... I have had the hands of an 80 year old for as long as I can remember.  

Ricotta is typically used as a base for the stuffing but you can add anything you would like or have on hand.  I added some garlic goat cheese and sausage for extra flavor.  These would be great vegetarian style as well with just ricotta, parmesan and fresh chopped herbs.   

Don't worry if the leaves tear.  The stuffing will help hold everything together.  Use your hands to form the stuffing into the flowers.  Loosely twist the ends.  

Gorgeous tomatoes from the market.  

It is very important to whisk the eggs and water for a long time.  The bubbles help to make the batter very light and airy.  

Drain the excess batter.  You want the coating to be very thin.  

Zucchini Flowers

12 zucchini flowers
1/2 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup goat cheese
3 thick slices of fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
8 basil leaves, finely chopped

Remove stamen from zucchini flower, rinse with cold water and dry.

Preheat skillet over medium heat.   Brown sausage and use wooden spoon to break it up.  Once sausage is almost fully cooked, add garlic.  Transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain and cool.

In a large bowl, add ricotta, goat cheese, mozzarella and basil.  Mix until fully combined.  Add sausage.

Spoon cheese mixture into a large ziploc bag.  Use scissors to cut off tip.  Make sure the hole is large enough so sausage and mozzarella chunks can pass through.  Place the tip of the bag into zucchini flower and squeeze until filled.  Twist top leaves and place on a large plate.  Repeat until all flowers are stuffed. Refrigerate for at least one hour so stuffing can firm up.  

Tomato Sauce

1/4 of a large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves
2 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped
8 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
pinch of rosemary
pinch of salt

Preheat a small saucepan over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil.  Add onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.  Add tomatoes, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary and salt.  Cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes.  Transfer to a blender and pulse until you reach desired consistency.  Pour in bowl and cover with foil until ready to plate.


1 egg
1 cup ice cold water
1 cup flour
pinch of salt

For frying

vegetable or peanut oil

Crack egg in large bowl.  Beat vigorously with a whisk until frothy.  Add water.  Beat until fully incorporated.  When bubbles form, add flour and salt then beat until completely smooth.

Heat 3 inches of oil in deep pan to 375 degrees.  Dip stuffed zucchini flower in batter and let all batter drip off.  Place in hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Do not fry more than 3 flowers at a time. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel lined plate.

Spoon sauce onto a platter.  Place fried zucchini flowers into sauce and top with fresh grated parmesan cheese.  

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