Ramona Mark commented on this post about our home-made italian feast saying "Mr. Kate PLEASE tell us what the zucchini flower recipe is! And the pasta! I want to make both of those for my roomies! Let us know! Thanks!!" you got it Ramona, here are both recipes! both vegan or vegetarian optional and totally delish!
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
beautiful and easy hors d'oeuvre or side dish. great finger food! a vegan recipe or vegetarian optional by adding cheese.
- around 15 zucchini flowers
- 2 cups of seasoned breadcrumbs (try to find natural ones without weird fillers or make your own, it's easy - how-to here) depending on how seasoned they are you may want to add some more dried oregano.
- 2 zucchini finely chopped (you could use another veggie: squash, eggplant, etc. or maybe try a ground seitan - but nothing too strong to over-power the delicate-ness of the zucchini flowers)
- 5 or 6 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 small red onion minced
- 1/2 cup plus some of olive oil
- salt and pepper
- vegetable broth (optional) water will do too
- hot pepper or hot pepper flakes (optional for spice)
- to make it vegetarian you could add some parmesan cheese to the stuffing mix - totally optional
- saute your minced garlic and onions in your olive oil, careful to keep heat low as not too burn.
- pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
- add your zucchini or veggie to the softened onion garlic mix and cook until nice and soft
- salt and pepper to taste and add a sprinkle of chopped red pepper or flakes for some spice
- add your breadcrumbs and mix all together, you may need to add more olive oil to moisten the breadcrumbs
- add a sploosh of veggie broth or water and keep mixing and kneading - you're trying to make a sticky paste the consistency of loose dough, it needs to be able to ball together for the stuffing. keep adding broth or more breadcrumbs until you get the desired consistency.
- gently open the zucchini flowers and using your hand or a small spoon, gently stuff the flowers with the breadcrumb mixture. be careful not too rip the flowers.
- grease a baking sheet and bake the stuffed flowers for around 30 minutes until the stuffing is like a soft bread and the flowers are slightly browned on the top. then eat up! use your fingers!
Fresh and Easy Pasta al Pomodoro
the beauty of Italian cooking is it's simplicity - just the freshest ingredients cooked as simply as possible. this recipe showcases this with fresh pasta, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil. that's it! so simple and SO GOOD! oh, and vegan unless you want to sprinkle with parmesan cheese, so vegetarian optional. serves 4 with 1 package of pasta.
- a package of fresh pasta (find this in the refrigerated section) we used a gemelli pasta, but a fusilli bucati or a rigatoni could work too. dry pasta would be fine but won't taste as fresh.
- 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup of nice olive oil - more if needed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 20 cherry tomatoes cut in half or around 4 large tomatoes cut in large-ish cubes - make sure it's tomato season so they're beautiful, ripe and flavorful
- about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of roughly chopped basil - sometimes it's better to rip the basil instead of chopping it with a knife because you avoid bruising the leaves
- start a pot to boil the pasta
- in a large pan, heat your olive oil over a medium low flame and add your chopped tomatoes. saute until the skin softens but don't over-cook!
- add your garlic to the tomatoes to cook the acid out but don't brown or cook too long. you want them soft but to maintain that garlic flavor.
- add salt and pepper to taste
- strain your pasta (remember fresh pasta cooks faster, keep it al dente, follow cook-time on package but always check a couple minutes before it's supposedly done) and add olive oil so it doesn't stick
- add your pasta and basil to the tomato, garlic mixture and stir it all together - if it needs more saucy-ness, add more olive oil.
- plate and serve! - add parmesan if you want it vegetarian or a little extra sea salt (if needed) to keep it vegan