Tag Archives: Roman

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Zucchini Blossoms

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

When I lived in New Jersey many years ago, my uncle used to have a zucchini garden in the summertime. He often made Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms, and I always enjoyed them. He also put them in scrambled eggs. Since then, I moved to South Florida, and could not find them anywhere.  On occasions, I would enjoy some, at a nearby Italian restaurant, but I always wanted to make it in my kitchen. Recently, my son PJ told me, he knows someone who’s growing zucchini. I screamed on the top of my lungs, and told him to get me some. Well, he came through for me, because today he brought me a nice amount of them. Needless to say, I was ecstatic.

Since I’ve never made them, I sought the assistance of some amazing friends who guided me in putting this recipe together. Giusy gave me the ratio for the beer and flour batter, and Angela suggested to make them the traditional Roman style, with fresh mozzarella and anchovies. It was a MAJOR HIT!

Serves: 4-8 Total:  15 zucchini flowers, keep them in a cool place so they don’t wilt.  Level of difficulty: Medium, because it takes a little time, and you have to treat them gingerly.

   Ingredients:

  • 15 zucchini blossoms, (flowers)
  • 1 cup beer, room temperature (Heineken)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Anchovies, fillet flat, 1 can
  • Fresh Mozzarella cheese, as needed
    Preparation:

     

    1) With a dry paper towel, gently clean the flowers. Remove the stamens, (pollen inside the flower) DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WASH THEM, YOU WILL BREAK THEM.

    2) Stuff each flower with a dollop of mozzarella cheese, (about 1 teaspoon or so depending on their size) and 1/2 of an anchovy fillet. Squeeze the top of the flower gently to close it. It will not be perfect, don’t worry about it. The batter will protect the stuffing while cooking. Set aside.

    3) Prepare the batter, by combining the flour with the beer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well with a whisk until you obtain a creamy texture.

    4) In the meanwhile, pour oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan, heat up on medium-high heat. Gently place the zucchini flowers in the batter, making sure, they are coated well. ( I did them in batches) and drop them in the hot oil. It will be messy, and it’s ok, just have confidence. Cook on one side for about 2-3 minutes, lower flame, if it’s too high, you want them light golden brown and not dark brown. Cook other side for another 2 minutes. Remove promptly. Serve at once. They will literally melt in your mouth. If you don’t like anchovies, then omit them. (sorry, but you will miss out). My family went bananas over this stuffing. You can also stuff them with ricotta cheese, and use club soda instead of beer, for a lighter batter.

    Please keep in mind a recipe is to be used as guideline, it’s up to you, the homecook, to watch the food, and use your judgement. Adjust the temperature setting as necessary. When frying, always make sure the oil very hot, otherwise, the food will come out soggy, and not presentable.

    This batter can be used to fry some veggies such as zucchini and cauliflower. The choice is yours.

    I hope you will have some fun in your kitchen, and try this delectable recipe.

    Happy Cooking From My Kitchen To Yours,

    Gina

    Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

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Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla carbonara

 

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Mise en place

 

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Egg mixture

In my house, life is a combination of magic and pasta, as beautifully quoted by Federico Fellini.

I have many versions of pasta recipes in my repertoire, however this one is very special, because the origin is from beautiful Rome, one of my favorite cities in the world.  I am happy to share with you Spaghetti alla Carbonara.  Mirco di Trizio, an aspiring Roman chef, provided me with the main ingredients, the ratio and method of cooking. I put it all together and kitchen tested it. The result was this creamy pasta that screamed deliciousness in every bite.

Serves: 4   Degree of difficulty: Moderate

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb. of Spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 to 3/4 lb. of pancetta, chopped (guanciale is preferred but hard to find in the US.)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated, Parmesan cheese (maybe more, if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated, made from sheep’s milk
  • 1/2 cup water room temperature, (for sauce)


    Preparation:

    1) In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, add freshly ground pepper  and both cheeses. Mix well and set aside.

    2) Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt to taste, and cook pasta according to package directions.

    3) In the meanwhile, heat olive oil, over medium flame, and brown pancetta until crispy, stirring occasionally, This will take 8 – 10 minutes depending on your pan and the degree of heat. Deglaze with the water, bring to a quick boil, then turn the heat to the lowest setting. Leave it on the burner.

    At this point, the pasta should be done, and it’s time to drain it. PUT IT BACK IN THE SAME POT.  Get the assistance of someone for the next step, if you can.  Bring the pot of pasta on your kitchen counter, (not on the hot stove) drop in the pancetta, mix it in.  Next, comes the tricky part,  get someone to slowly pour the egg mixture in the pasta while you gently stir it, AWAY from the heat. You should obtain a nice creamy texture. If you feel like it’s too watery, go ahead and add a little more cheese. Remove from the pot immediately to avoid the effect of scrambled eggs. (It would be edible, however, it  is not the presentation, we are looking for.) Place in a serving bowl and serve while it’s piping hot.

    The chef has complimented me on the dish but scolded me about the parsley as a garnish. Instead, he recommends using a melted Parmigiano, called Cialda di Parmigiano.  An easy way to achieve this, is to melt some cheese in the microwave. You can bypass this step all together but wanted to give you some option for garnish.

    cialda
    Cheese garnish, optional. Stock photo, not mine

    I hope you will try this recipe in your kitchen. It may seem complicated but it’s simple if you follow my directions step by step. Wishing all of you a beautiful holiday season!

Happy Cooking from Gina’s Kitchen.