Last summer I shared a garden with my sister. It was a bit undermanaged. Mostly because we were living in community with 4 kids under age 5… so weeding the garden did not always happen. But it still produced a lot of good veggies. Part way through the season we realized our squash plants were diseased. So I decided to harvest a bunch of squash blossoms since they would not be turning into squash anyway.
The thing about picking squash blossoms is that bees love them. On a few occasions I picked a blossom and was surprised by bee inside. After a while I learned to shake the blossom first and listen for a bee.
I experimented with the squash blossoms using different recipes. Our favorites were battered squash blossoms stuffed with herbed ricotta (labor intensive) and pasta with squash blossoms (much easier).
I was delighted to find squash blossoms here in Burkina. A woman with a produce stand near our house had some baby zucchini set out with little blossoms attached. I went to buy some and she started pulling off the blossoms and discarding them for me. She was surprised when I told her I wanted the blossoms but more than happy to give them to me.
With the blossoms I decided to make a pasta. Soren and Anya helped me make the lunch. Their little fingers are really great for peeling garlic…and it keeps them occupied for a long time. Although, Anya kept getting confused and throwing the garlic out rather than the skins. Once we got that sorted out we were on our way. I added some red peppers which are a rare find here and the saffron my in-laws gave me. The pasta was delicious.
A pile of squash blossoms
3-4 red peppers
8 garlic cloves
6-8 slices of bacon or proscutto thinly sliced
4 tbl butter
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth
Tagliatelle pasta cooked in salted water
¼ cup parmesan cheese for topping
2 pinches of saffron
Salt to taste
Slice zucchini and peppers into thin 2inch long strips. Slice garlic length wise into thin strips. Chiffonade zucchini blossoms. Brown zucchini, red pepper, and garlic in butter. Add bacon or prosciutto and cook until crispy. Add chicken broth, deglaze pan, and cook down until ½ liquid. Add zucchini flowers. Cook 1 minutes. Add heavy cream and saffron. Simmer for 3 minutes. Toss with cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese.