Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spaghetti with squash blossoms

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The other day my husband and I were both working at home. He works at home most of the time; I work at home when I have conference calls scheduled straight from early in the morning until after noon, because by the time I'm off the phone it doesn't make sense to spend time driving to the office.

Normally we don't talk to each other much when we're both working at home. He's busy, I'm busy. But it was lunchtime, and I had a short break between calls, and the zucchini flowers were calling me. I chopped the squash blossoms and a bunch of garlic chives, made some spaghetti, and tossed everything with goat cheese, olive oil and some of the pasta water. We stood at the counter together and twirled our pasta. Oh, no, wait - I twirled. He prefers to cut his spaghetti into pieces with a knife. (Most of the time I take pity on him and make fusilli or penne, but I didn't have any.)

When I worked closer to home, my husband would sometimes swing by, pick me up, and take me out for lunch. My office is too far away for that now. But lunch at home in our own quiet kitchen, standing at the counter, a few minutes of distracting conversation between conference calls - that was one of our best lunch dates in a while.

You can find squash blossoms, the edible flowers of the zucchini plant, at farmers' markets in the spring (late spring if you're not in southern California) and summer. Many people stuff, batter and fry them, but I prefer them more simply prepared. My friend Mirna taught me to put them inside quesadillas. I chop them and put them on pizza and in pasta. They taste a tiny bit like zucchini with a hint of pepper. But it's the visual I love above all else - ribbons of bright orange, ridged and rough like crepe paper. And there's something magical and romantic about eating flowers, don't you think?

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Spaghetti with squash blossoms
A simple springtime pasta. Look for zucchini flowers at farmers' markets or specialty produce markets - or, if you're a gardener, on your zucchini plants.
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti or other thin pasta
  • 6 ounces goat cheese
  • 3 Tbsp grated Romano cheese
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • large handful zucchini flowers (squash blossoms), chopped
  • 1/2 cup garlic chives, chopped (can substitute chives or basil)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions.In the bowl in which you'll serve the pasta, crumble the goat cheese. Add the Romano cheese, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water from the pot. Stir until the goat cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy.Drain the spaghetti and add it to the serving bowl. Toss to coat with the goat cheese sauce. Add the squash blossoms and garlic chives, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings


Stacy (Little Blue Hen) said...

We have a volunteer squash plant and I was thinking of using the flowers for something. This would work for sure!

Love the story about your lunch date. =)

BonnieBanters said...

This sounds wonderful, and I agree the presentation is divine! Something to impress the girls with at lunch, or a romantic dinner with your significant other!

Hilary Cable said...

So easy and I can smell the lemony goodness from here! Where did you find he lovely blossoms? They last about this long (snaps fingers) before they start to look pathetic.

Erika Kerekes said...

Hilary - I get them at the farmers' market, from the same guy who brings the beautiful zucchini. Soaking them in cold water perks them up nicely if they start to wilt.

Kim said...

Beautiful! Last year, we stuffed our blossoms with goat cheese, then coated them in batter before frying them. This year, we'll probably expand to other applications - because I too, LOVE the visual w/ the blossoms. We'll get them in about another month off our squash.


P.S. I enjoy lunch dates, too. They don't happen enough.

Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. said...

great post!!

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