Baked Zucchini Flowers with a Creamy Ricotta Filling

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on August 14, 2013

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Doesn’t that look so gourmet?

Can you believe it takes less than 30 minutes to make, and that most of the time is in the prep?

It’s true!

This is Part 2 of Cook like an Italian: Fiori di Zucca Ripieni (or: Baked, stuffed zucchini flowers with a ricotta filling. For Part 1, click here).

I had the wonderful experience of learning this recipe through Convivio Rome during our recent trip to Italy. And while the first recipe we made in our cooking class was extremely time intensive (2+ hours), this one was not at all!

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Made with super fresh ingredients straight from the garden, this is a simple recipe that’s sure to impress. It works well as an appetizer for guests, or you can even serve it as a light dinner or lunch along with some crusty whole grain bread and a salad.

The star here are the zucchini flowers.

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Ours were so fresh (picked that morning) that one still had a bee inside!! (so be careful if you are de-stemming them!)

Traditionally, zucchini flowers are stuffed and fried — which makes them a decadent but definitely unhealthy treat. These are baked in the oven which is the perfect makeover: it gives them a similar crispy texture on the outside and doesn’t lose any of the flavor.

The Ingredients

  • 12 zucchini flowers
  • 500g fresh ricotta (Sheep’s milk or Cow’s milk is fine. We used whole milk ricotta in our class, but at home I’d probably use part skim)
  • Fresh grated nutmeg (enough to sprinkle over the cheese)
  • 1 cup parmigiano reggiano
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO (for the sauce)
  • Chopped cherry tomatoes
  • Balsamic syrup (for plating)

The Directions

Step 1: De-stem the flowers.

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Step 2: Mix the ricotta with parmesan, a dash of salt, and nutmeg.

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Step 3: Put basil leaves in a blender with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Set aside (This will be used for plating). Meanwhile, put the ricotta mixture (about 2-3 Tbsp) inside each flower.
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Step 4: Put zucchini flowers in the oven, preheated at 350 degrees Farenheit for 2-3 minutes until the flowers are slightly cooked and the cheese has melted.
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When they are done they will look like this:
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Step 5: Serve with basil sauce, chopped cherry tomatoes and a balsamic syrup. (3 stuffed flowers per serving).
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The husband and I couldn’t get enough of this dish. The creamy ricotta filling oozed out of the flowers when we took a bite, and the cherry tomatoes added just the right amount of acidity to the plate.
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It’s an easy way to bring Italy right to your home!
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Baked Zucchini Flowers with a Creamy Ricotta Filling

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 3 stuffed zucchini flowers, a handful of chopped t

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 230 Calories, 16.3g Fat, 414.5mg Sodium, 4.9g Carbs, 1g Fiber, 0.3g Sugars, 16.4g Protein

Ingredients

  • 12 zucchini flowers
  • 500g fresh ricotta (Sheep's milk or Cow's milk is fine. We used whole milk ricotta in our class, but at home I'd probably use part skim)
  • Fresh grated nutmeg (enough to sprinkle over the cheese)
  • 1 cup parmigiano reggiano
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO (for the sauce)
  • Chopped cherry tomatoes
  • Balsamic syrup (for plating)

Directions

  1. De-stem the flowers.
  2. Mix the ricotta with parmesan, a dash of salt, and nutmeg.
  3. Put basil leaves in a blender with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Set aside (This will be used for plating). Meanwhile, put the ricotta mixture (about 2-3 Tbsp) inside each flower.
  4. Put zucchini flowers in the oven, preheated at 350 degrees Farenheit for 2-3 minutes until the flowers are slightly cooked and the cheese has melted.
  5. Serve with basil sauce, chopped cherry tomatoes and a balsamic syrup. (3 stuffed flowers per serving).

Notes

Recipe from Convivio Rome

http://pickyeaterblog.com/baked-zucchini-flowers-with-a-creamy-ricotta-filling/

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly August 14, 2013 at 10:34 pm

This summer I tried squash blossoms for the first time at Mesa Grill, Bobby Flay’s restaurant in Las Vegas. They were the deep fried version and absolutely delicious, but they cost $6 each! I have three zucchini plants and lots of tomatoes in my garden now so I’ll have to try your recipe. I love that they’ll be a lot less money and healthier since they’re baked.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Oh that’s so amazing that you have a vegetable garden at home! That is one of my dreams when we have our own house (vs. an apartment 🙂 ). And yes, using veggies from your garden will make this a much more budget-friendly and healthy dish – can’t wait to hear how you like it!

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Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper August 15, 2013 at 10:44 am

They are so pretty!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 15, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Thanks Melanie!! I’m sure you will love this recipe!

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Anto August 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm

I love this recipe! I was used to have that very often in Italy.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 17, 2013 at 8:46 am

That’s great!! Thanks Anto!

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Maria Tadic August 16, 2013 at 8:48 am

These look so good! I’ve only had zucchini flowers that have been fried – which as you say are delicious but not the healthiest option. I’d love to try this recipe out!! Sounds so yummy and fresh tasting!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 17, 2013 at 8:47 am

Thanks Maria!! It really is a much lighter/healthier dish – you’ll have to let me know how it turns out for you!

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The Girl Next Door December 15, 2015 at 2:09 am

I have read so much about ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers in Frances Mayes’ and Marlena de Blasi’s books! I would love to try some out some time, but I haven’t even seen them in India anywhere. 🙂

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 19, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Ahhh yes – I’m not sure if you can get zucchini flowers in India! Not sure if they even grow there — but you should look in your local markets during the summer when they are in season. You never know, you might get lucky! 🙂 If you don’t find zucchini flowers, you can use this filling to stuff just about any vegetable and it will taste great.

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Kimberly March 29, 2016 at 12:19 am

Can I ask whether the cheese does not have rennet (animal bones) in them? Did you ask the restaurants in Italy? Sorry, I’m a strict vegetarian? Thanks

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 29, 2016 at 5:40 am

Hi Kimberly! We didn’t ask the restaurants in Italy — so I honestly have no idea whether their cheeses were made with animal rennet or vegetable rennet. So sorry I can’t be more helpful! But I’d just ask when you go, I’m sure they’ll be able to tell you. And in the US, most cheeses you can find at the grocery store aren’t made with animal rennet so you should be good there!

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