Have you seen those beautiful squash blossoms at the farmer’s market lately? They are golden and curvy and really pretty! I decided I wanted to use them in a recipe, so I did a little research on how to use them. Apparently you can bake them, stuff them, or fry them..so actually they are very versatile for almost any recipe. I wanted to use them in a way where they still maintained their beautiful shape and color. So I settled on a pasta dish where I would very lightly saute them and add them at the very last minute.
Vegetable pasta dishes are great because they are pretty much a “one dish meal”. You can add just about a mix of vegetables to the pasta and they are simple to make. I made a trip to the market, and picked a grouping of very summery vegetables that I felt would work well together in a pasta meal.
I used; a golden zucchini, some heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh corn, shallots, French radishes, parsley, basil & the squash blossoms.
(makes 2 – 4 servings)
- 4 cups of pasta (your choice of shape)
- 1 golden or green zucchini (thinly slice)
- 1 – 2 cups of cherry tomatoes (cut some in half – keep very small ones whole)
- 1/3 cup of parsley (chop coarsely – reserving a little for garnish)
- 1/3 cup of basil leaves (chop coarsely reserving a little for garnish)
- 1 -2 radishes (thinly sliced)
- 1 – 2 shallots sliced
- 6 – 8 squash blossoms (cut the stems end off and cut in half)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup of ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup of olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- salt & fresh ground pepper
To make the Salad:
* cook the pasta according to ingredients (until al dente)
* boil the corn and then cut the kernels off the cob
* thinly slice the radishes
* cut the shallot into slices and lightly saute in a little olive oil
* thinly slice the zucchini and lightly saute in a little olive oil
* slice the tomatoes in half or leave some whole and lightly saute in some olive oil
(do not over cook the vegetables – you want them barely golden and softened)
Set the vegetables aside on a plate while you make the dressing
For the Dressing:
* Chop most of the parsley & basil (reserve some for garnish) and add to the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small skillet. Saute lightly and add a little salt & pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice into the mixture.
To assemble the Pasta Dish:
Drizzle half the dressing over the pasta, toss it together and arrange it all on a platter. Lightly mix in some of the the vegetables. Add few dollops of ricotta cheese on top of this. Arrange the rest of the vegetables over everything. Then lay the squash blossoms around the top and sprinkle the parmesan on top. Add the reserved herbs to the pasta dish and salt & pepper to taste. Drizzle the rest of the dressing over the entire dish.
For me, half the fun with a dish like this in arranging everything, so be creative and make a pretty platter! The ricotta adds a creamy goodness and extra protein, and the vegetables are full of color, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. (If you are gluten intolerant it is very easy these days to find really good gluten free pasta.)
This is summer on a plate and – so enjoy!