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Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms


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With stretchy mozzarella inside and a coating of crunchy breadcrumbs, these squash blossoms get the creamy-crispy ratio just right.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces grated mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 squash blossoms, stamens removed
  • 1 cup plain dry breadcrumbs

Recipe Preparation

  • Mix ricotta, mozzarella, and chives; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a piping bag or resealable plastic bag (cut tip). Pipe into squash blossoms. Place breadcrumbs in a baking dish. Lightly beat eggs in another dish. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dip blossoms in egg, then breadcrumbs. Cook, turning once, until golden, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels; season with salt.

Reviews SectionI made these and loved them, changed the recipe a little bit - my bag of blossoms from the farmers market had about 20 - so I chose the best 11 and just guesstimated a larger amount of filling. Seemed like a lot of work for 8 blossoms otherwise. I also added some basil since I had it and used a combo of mostly breadcrumbs with a little flour, which gave the breading a more cohesive feel. Over all delicious, and right now is the perfect season for it!

List of Ingredients

  • 2.3 LBS. of spinach, washed
  • 1 C. of ricotta cheese
  • 2 C. of flour
  • 1/3 C. of cornstarch
  • 1/4 C. of vinegar
  • 3/8 C. of currants
  • 1/3 C. of sugar
  • 30 pumpkin (or squash) flowers
  • Garlic
  • Chili pepper
  • extravirgin olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Salt

Method

Cook the spinach in a pan with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 crushed clove of garlic (which is removed after cooking), a small piece of chili pepper and salt: sauté, stirring, for about 5-6 minutes.

Cream the ricotta in a bowl. Mince the spinach and mix it into the ricotta. This is the filling.

Clean the blossoms, removing the pistils, and stuff them with the filling.

Separately, mix together the flour, 2/3 cup cornstarch and 2 cups of ice water to get a fairly dense batter.

Dip the blossoms in the batter, turning the petals a little so that they close over the filling.

Fry them a few at a time in hot peanut oil for 3-4 minutes or until golden. Drain them on paper towels and sprinkle them with salt.

For the sauce: In a saucepan, boil 2 3/4 tablespoons of water with the sugar and vinegar. When it boils, add 2/3 cup water and the currants. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Add 4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in a little water, then blend in a blender and run this sauce through a sieve.

Serve the blossoms hot with the sauce and a few whole currants, if desired.


Baked Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Flowers


July is just around the corner which means it is once again zucchini time. Our orto (vegetable garden) is flourishing this year, and our zucchini plants have been producing lots of zucchini. Although I do enjoy cooking with zucchini, I am particularly fond of the zucchini flowers, or squash blossoms. Since there are just two of us at home now, we probably overestimated our zucchini needs, and I have a feeling that we will find the eight zucchini plants in our garden are going to produce more than we can reasonably use. My husband picks the blossoms for me each morning when he waters the garden, and just this morning he brought me nineteen new flowers! I have been harvesting so many zucchini flowers that I have started using them in egg dishes, pasta sauces, and just this week made a zucchini and zucchini flower risotto. I have also stuffed the flowers with various cheeses and herbs and have fried or baked them. As much as I adore fried zucchini flowers, I am trying to avoid fried foods as much as I can, so I have found baking them to be a great alternative. I stuff my flowers with a blend of ricotta and pecorino cheese and chopped herbs, then bread them and bake them. The exterior of the flower becomes golden brown and crispy while the filling is creamy smooth. I love the flowers simply topped with a sprinkling of sea salt, but also often serve them with a fresh tomato relish or my Quick Tomato Sauce. I have kept my filling simple in this recipe using just the two types of cheese, herbs, and seasonings, but you could also vary this recipe by adding some chopped anchovies or black olives.

These flowers require little preparation before use. Simply carefully remove the stamen from the center and wipe with a damp paper towel. I have found that freshly picked flowers with stay fresh wrapped in damp paper towels stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can pipe the filling into the flowers if you prefer, but I find it easy to simply use a small spoon and then push the filling down with my fingers. Do not worry if the flower tears since the breaded coating will keep the filling enclosed while it bakes.


Recipe: Ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms

Note: Adapted from Matt Molina of Osteria Mozza. Squash blossoms are available at farmers markets.

1/2 pound low-moisture mozzarella, cut in small cubes

1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut in small cubes

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Pass the ricotta through a food mill or fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir in the eggs, low-moisture mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, nutmeg and salt. Taste and add more salt or nutmeg if necessary.

2. Stuff each squash blossom with a spoonful of the ricotta mixture, being careful not to overstuff -- the ricotta should not be forcing its way out of the flower. Figure 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons per blossom.

3. Place the rice flour in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in enough sparkling water to make a batter the thickness of light cream, about three-fourths of a cup. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set the bowl with the batter in the ice bath to keep it cold.

4. Fill a deep, wide pan with canola oil to a depth of at least 2 inches. Heat over high heat to 375 degrees. Dredge the stuffed squash blossoms in the batter, making sure they are completely covered, then drop them into the hot oil, frying only 3 or 4 at a time to avoid overcrowding. Fry until the blossoms are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Remove the blossoms to a tray lined with paper towels to drain briefly, then transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with sea salt and a few drops of lemon juice and serve immediately.

Each of 8 servings: 457 calories 18 grams protein 15 grams carbohydrates 0 fiber 35 grams fat 14 grams saturated fat 123 mg. cholesterol 598 mg. sodium.

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RICOTTA-STUFFED SQUASH BLOSSOMS

INSTRUCTIONS
1) Mix flour, grated Parmesan and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Do not add seltzer yet.

2) In a separate bowl, mix together ricotta, egg yolk, Parmesan, herbs, salt and pepper until just combined. Spoon this mixture into a sandwich-sized plastic bag. Once you’ve filled the bag, seal it and cut one of the bottom corners with scissors.

3) Carefully open each blossom and pipe ricotta inside. Fill each about 2/3 the way full. After filling each, close the petals with your fingers and set aside.

4) Add seltzer to bowl with flour and Parmesan. Stir until just combined. Dredge half the stuffed blossoms in the batter.

5) Add olive oil to a pan over medium heat to about 1/4” depth. Heat oil to 350 degrees - if you don’t have a thermometer, the oil is ready when a drop of batter instantly sizzles.

6) Fry until lightly golden, 1-2 minutes, then with tongs carefully flip and cook the other side. Remove blossoms from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Repeat with remaining stuffed blossoms.

6) Serve with Chef Tom Gray’s Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce

Note: You can find squash blossoms at farmer’s markets. Reach out to a local farmer to see if they will harvest some for you - or a friend with a garden! They are fabulous stuffed, added to pasta or quesadillas.


Traditional Italian Fried Zucchini Blossoms

recipe by Christina Conte (from my Nonna Chiarina)

  • 8 to 10 zucchini blossoms (or as many as you want to make)
  • 1/3 cup (2 oz) flour
  • 2 good pinches of salt
  • about 3 oz water (sparkling water is optional)
  • 1 tsp milk (helps give a golden color, but omit for lactose intolerance)
  • olive oil for frying

Equipment: whisk, nonstick pan or cast iron pan

Note: the amount of batter is more than you will need. Also, my Nonna never added anything to the flour and water mixture, but if you’d like to use sparkling water or a pinch of baking soda, go ahead).

Clean the Blossoms.

Remove the pistil and stem of the flowers, then rinse gently and dry on paper towel. It’s okay if they tear a little or you open them completely. It’s easier to make sure there’s no dirt or bugs inside this way.

Make the Batter.

Put the flour and salt in a bowl which you can dip the flowers into. Add the milk, and then the water a little at a time and beat with a whisk or fork. Keep adding the water until a thick consistency is reached. Beat well for another minute or two. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes or longer.

Dip the Flowers.

Preheat the oil in the frying pan. It should be hot when adding the flowers. You can test it with a drop of batter if you’re unsure.

Dip the flowers into the batter, coating well, then add to the hot oil in the pan.

fried zucchini blossoms

Fry the Flowers.

Add the flowers to the hot oil in the pan. Again, you don’t have to deep fry these. Pan frying in a little olive oil is just as good.

These are filled with cheese.

Fry until cooked on one side, then turn and continue to cook until ready.

Remove and place on paper towel lined plate.

Best eaten while still hot/warm.


Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Ricotta

Squash blossoms are the brilliant yellow flowers still attached to immature zucchini when they turn up at the market in the late spring. With a delicate texture and mild flavor, they’re delicious stuffed with many different cheeses — we like them with whole-milk ricotta, but try soft goat cheese, feta or fresh mozzarella, too.

Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Ricotta

18 large zucchini blossoms, stems intact

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g.) all-purpose flour

1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Fried fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs for serving (optional)

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Remove the stamen from the center of each blossom. Gently wash and pat dry the blossoms. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the ricotta into the center of each blossom. Twist the tips of the petals closed and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour and fine sea salt. Add the olive oil, egg, and 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml.) water and whisk to make a batter.

Pour the canola oil into a deep saute pan to a depth of 2 inches (5 cm.). Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) on a deep-frying thermometer. One at a time, gently slip the stuffed blossoms into the batter and turn to coat evenly. Using a slotted spatula, lift the blossoms from the batter, allowing the excess to drip off, and carefully lower into the hot oil. Fry in batches of 4 or 5, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) apart and turning once if needed to brown evenly, until golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Using the spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain.

If making the fried parsley garnish, when all of the blossoms are cooked, add the parsley sprigs to the hot oil and fry just until lightly crisped, about 30 seconds. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.

Sprinkle the zucchini blossoms with coarse sea salt and top with the parsley, if desired. Serve at once. Makes 18 stuffed blossoms.


Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Give Summer one last hurrah with Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms. These edible flowers turn into the perfect antipasto when stuffed and fried!

How gorgeous are those beautiful blossoms. Perfectly fresh and eager for a summering filling.

You have no idea how many farmers market vendors, how many Whole Foods, how many whatever-fancy-shamancy-boutique-foodie store I’ve been to asking them about squash blossoms! I even harvested a huge zucchini, bit it was too late because the flower already grew into the fruit. Total flower letdown.

The Jalapeño Avocado Margarita

The filling couldn’t be simpler and more fresh. It is whole milk ricotta, 1 egg to help hold everything together, lemon zest and a small handful of fresh mint to brighten everything up. Once you stuff these and fry them up until golden perfection, you will not be able to stop.


Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

It took not 1, not 2, but 3 different stores to find squash blossoms! I have been obsessed with making ricotta stuffed squash blossoms ever since I did it for the 1st time a few years ago. But it was a total flop! I followed someone else’s instructions of boiling them for a few seconds. Which makes sense, but was a total disaster! The flowers are so fragile that attempting to stuff was nearly impossible.

So take it from me, once you find or grow your own squash blossoms, give them a little wipe and stuff away. My filling of choice, an herbed ricotta mixture.

How gorgeous are those beautiful blossoms. Perfectly fresh and eager for a summering filling.

You have no idea how many farmers market vendors, how many Whole Foods, how many whatever-fancy-shamancy-boutique-foodie store I’ve been to asking them about squash blossoms! I even harvested a huge zucchini, but it was too late because the flower already grew into the fruit. There’s always next season.

I have to be honest. Frying is my least favorite method of cooking. I find it tiresome, heavy and loathe the smell of used oil afterwards. However, there are only a handful of things I will fry. And that is my mom’s famous latkes, because you should never bake latkes…ever!, these Persian doughnuts , some plantains and of course, ricotta stuffed squash blossoms.

The filling couldn’t be simpler and more fresh. It is whole milk ricotta, 1 egg to help hold everything together, lemon zest and a small handful of fresh mint to brighten everything up. Once you stuff these and fry them up until golden perfection, you will not be able to stop.

1) First make the filling. In a bowl, add ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, chopped mint and salt and pepper. Mix everything together.

2) Use a Ziploc bag and open it up into a cup. This will help keep the filling in place. Spoon filling into the Ziploc bag, making sure it’s not too full. Close the bag, squeezing out as much air as you can and set aside.

3) Clean the squash blossom carefully and wipe of any debris. Be careful not to tear the delicate petals..

4) Heat up a large skillet with about 1/2 inch of canola or vegetable oil (or any high-heat oil you like). While the oil is heating up, make the coating.

5) In another bowl, add flour, salt and pepper and sparkling water. Whisk together until it looks like a pancake batter consistency. Shouldn’t be too thick but easily drip. (Sorry I didn’t get a pic of this!)

6) Next, fill your blossoms. Snip a tiny corner off the Ziploc bag and carefully open the blossom. Pipe in the ricotta mixture so it fills the cavity, but not too much that it overflows. Twist the petals together and set aside. Repeat with the rest.

7) When all done, use the stem to dip the blossom into the batter. Allow excess batter to drip off. Slow drop the blossom into the hot oil. It should sizzle right away. Cook on 1 side for about 2 minutes until lightly golden brown and carefully flip to other side and cook for 1-2 minutes.

8) Have a paper towel lined baking sheet ready and when done, place fried squash blossoms onto towel. Immediately season with flaky salt on top.


Farm to Table: Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Marinara Sauce

While delivering wine to my good friend Julia Johnston (kitchen designer extraordinaire) the other day, she was kind enough to bestow upon me the gift of. squash blossoms!Of course I'm talking about the delicate, golden blooms produced by summer squash, most commonly zucchini. While I have enjoyed these beautiful, edible flowers prepared in restaurants before, I've never made them myself. Since Julia was generous enough to share them with me I knew I couldn't just banish them to produce drawer purgatory where they would die a slow death along with the two remaining scallions and half a Vidalia onion leftover from last week's cooking adventures - no, they were way too special for that! So I did some research on these beauties to learn a little bit more about them as well as the various methods of preparation.Although most squash has its ancestry rooted in the Americas (pun intended), the one we know today as "zucchini" actually originated in Italy. When it comes to the zucchini flowers, there are both male and female varieties. The female flower is attached to the actual zucchini fruit (yes, this vegetable we've been enjoying in savory dishes all these years is technically a fruit) while the male flower grows directly on the stem of the plant - both are necessary for pollination to occur. While they look slightly different, the female flower has a flat bottom where it was attached to the zucchini while the male flower is slightly smaller and has a stem (pictured above), both are deliciously edible and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Popular preparation methods include stuffing and frying them in a light tempura batter, incorporating them in soups, and, since zucchini and its blossoms are very popular in Mexico, as a filling for quesadillas. After researching a few different preparations I decided to take the classic route and prepare them stuffed with creamy ricotta cheese, lightly battered and fried until golden and served with a marinara sauce. What's not to love about that?I'm happy to report the preparation of this dish was actually quite painless and the result was beautiful, golden floral nuggets that were positively delightful! The crispy outer shell studded with Maldon salt gave way to an oozy, cheesy center accentuated by the delicate flavor and texture of the flower itself. The key is to serve the blossoms warm so the cheese is perfectly melty and the marinara sauce made a wonderful accompaniment. As with just about any fried dish, Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms pair deliciously well with sparkling wine such as Prosecco or Franciacorta. If you choose to serve them with a marinara sauce as I ultimately did, a fruity Italian red like a Barbera is perfect! I hope you enjoy this dish and I'd love to hear what you think or if you have any other delicious ways of preparing this very special ingredient. Thanks again to Julia for expanding my culinary horizons!Cheers, "Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Marinara Sauce" Makes 6 blossoms6 squash blossoms, stems trimmed to 1"1 cup ricotta cheese1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped1 - 12 ounce bottle lager or light lager beerVegetable oil for frying (approximately 2 quarts if using a standard Dutch oven)Container of your favorite store bought or homemade marinara sauceKosher salt and freshly ground black pepperMaldon sea salt for garnish1.) Carefully pry the leaves open towards the base of each flower, opening just enough to remove the stamen inside with your thumb and forefinger. Rinse each flower gently with cool water and pat dry.2.) Fill a piping bag (or plastic bag with a corner snipped off) with ricotta cheese and pipe 2-3 tablespoons into each flower being careful not to overfill. If the flower is filled with too much cheese it can burst during frying. Gently twist the petals closed at the top and set aside.3.) In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together flour, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Pour the beer into the mixture slowly, whisking to remove any lumps.4.) Add enough vegetable oil to a pot or heavy skillet so it comes up the side 2 inches, yet is not more than halfway up the sides. Heat oil to 360 degrees and then dip the flowers into the batter (use the stem to roll it when possible) and carefully add the battered blossoms to the hot oil. Fry until blossoms are golden and crisp, using a spider or spatula to make sure each side is golden brown, approximately 2-3 minutes. Depending on the size of your pot, you may want to cook the blossoms in batches to avoid them sticking together.Once done, remove blossoms to a paper towel-lined plate and season with Maldon sea salt while hot. Plate golden brown blossoms and serve with your favorite store bought or homemade marinara sauce.


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