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Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Flowers: A Delicate and Flavorful Italian Delight

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Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Flowers, or “Fiori di Zucca Ripieni di Ricotta” in Italian, are a gourmet dish that combines the delicate sweetness of zucchini flowers with creamy ricotta cheese and herbs. This traditional Italian recipe is often served as an appetizer or a light main course, showcasing the freshness and elegance of seasonal ingredients. Let’s explore how to prepare Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with a recipe that highlights their exquisite flavors and simple preparation.

Ingredients:

  • 12-16 zucchini flowers
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare the Zucchini Flowers

  1. Gently rinse the zucchini flowers under cold water to remove any dirt or insects. Carefully pat them dry with paper towels.
  2. Carefully remove the pistil or stamen from inside each zucchini flower. Trim the stems to about 1 inch in length, keeping the flowers intact.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, chopped basil, minced garlic, lemon zest, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well until smooth and well combined.

Step 3: Stuff the Zucchini Flowers

  1. Using a small spoon or piping bag, carefully fill each zucchini flower with a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture. Gently twist the petals to seal the filling inside.

Step 4: Coat the Zucchini Flowers

  1. Place the flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs into three separate shallow dishes.
  2. Carefully dip each stuffed zucchini flower into the flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip it into the beaten egg, ensuring it is evenly coated. Finally, coat it in breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere.

Step 5: Fry the Zucchini Flowers

  1. In a large skillet or frying pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
  2. Working in batches, fry the stuffed zucchini flowers for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Arrange the fried Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Flowers on a serving platter. Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the flowers.

Tips for Success:

  • Freshness: Use fresh zucchini flowers that are firm and vibrant in color. Check for any signs of wilting or damage before using.
  • Frying Temperature: Maintain a consistent frying temperature to ensure the zucchini flowers cook evenly and develop a crispy exterior.
  • Variations: Experiment with different herbs such as mint or oregano in the ricotta filling for added flavor. You can also add a pinch of nutmeg or red pepper flakes for a subtle kick.

Serving Suggestions:

Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Flowers are best served immediately while still warm and crispy. They can be enjoyed as an appetizer, a side dish, or even as a light main course alongside a fresh green salad. Pair them with a glass of chilled white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, to complement their delicate flavors.

Conclusion:

Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Flowers are a testament to Italian culinary finesse, combining the delicate sweetness of zucchini flowers with creamy ricotta cheese and aromatic herbs. With their crispy exterior and creamy interior, these stuffed flowers are sure to impress guests and elevate any meal. Embrace the art of making Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with this easy-to-follow recipe and savor the flavors of Italian cuisine at its finest.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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