Zucchini blossom Potato Gnocchi

Summer nights with summer delights…

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The beauty of summer is not just the clear blue, sun-kissed skies, but also the availability of fresh produce. I am so excited to see my local grocer stocked up with beautiful fruits and vegetables, one of my favourite summer vegetable is zucchini and its beautiful blossoms. Usually I stuff zucchini flowers with goats cheese (you can find the recipe here), but this time I round I decide to do something different with them – cook them in a pasta.

While my most favourite pasta is spaghetti, for this dish I decided to use potato gnocchi.  One day I will endeavour to make my own gnocchi, but during the week where the need for quick meals is paramount packaged gnocchi will do just fine. The best part about using gnocchi is that it takes only 3 – 4 minutes to cook and as a working woman you will know time is of the essence during mid-week cooking.

Ingredients:   11      Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

  • One packet of potato gnocchi
  • Eight to ten baby zucchini
  • Eight to ten zucchini flowers
  • One teaspoon of dried red chilli flakes
  • Handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • Four to five pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One dozen cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled goats cheese
  • Three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season

Begin by separating the zucchini flowers from the zucchini stem and remove the pistil in the middle of the flower by carefully parting the petals and keep aside.

Heat three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Now add the sliced onion, chopped garlic and mint, cook until the onion mix is caramelised.

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Add sliced zucchini, along with the chilli flakes and cook until the zucchini is tender. While the zucchini is cooking bring water to a boil and add the gnocchi, cook it as per packet instructions.

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Once the gnocchi is cooked add it to the zucchini mix and give all the ingredients a good toss, coating the gnocchi with all those delicious flavours.

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Now add the sliced tomatoes and toss the ingredients, cook until the tomatoes are soft. Season with salt as per taste, but remember not to over salt as we will be adding the goats cheese later.

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Lastly add the zucchini blossoms and crumbled goats cheese, give the gnocchi a good stir and serve hot!

There you have it! A lip smackingly delicious mid-week meal all in 15 minutes.

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Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with a Coriander and Cucumber Chutney

A Zucchini flower with any other name would taste as delicious…

The first time I had Zucchini flowers was at a Chianti, a fine dining Italian restaurant in Adelaide. It was love at first bite! Since then I have been in the pursuit of finding zucchini flowers at other Italian restaurant, they never quite matched the finesse and flavours of the ones from Chianti.

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Just when I had given up, I saw that my local grocer had started stocking fresh zucchini flowers. As you know necessity is the mother of all invention and when I saw them at the shops it was absolutely necessary for me to eat them. As always I relied on my husband to be my guinea pig.

The best way to make zucchini flowers is to stuff them.You can stuff them with grains such as rice or quinoa or better yet with cheese such as ricotta or goats cheese. My recipe is with goats cheese because my husband and I love the gooey and salty flavour of goats cheese oozing from the crispy zucchini flowers.

Ingredients:   6            Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2
For the zucchini flowers:
  • A pack of fresh zucchini flowers (usually there are six in a pack)
  • One cup of crumbled goats cheese
  • 3/4 cup of plain flower
  • One cup of water
  • Salt to season
  • Vegetable oil to fry
For the dipping sauce
  • A bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1/2 a cucumber 
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil
  • One pod of garlic
  • One teaspoon dried mint leaves
  • One green chilli
  • One teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt to taste

Lets make the dipping sauce first – Blend all the ingredients in a blender and there your dipping sauce is ready! You can transfer it into an old squeezable sauce bottle and if kept in the refrigerator it will last upto a week.

Moving on to the beautiful zucchini flowers, wash the flowers and towel dry them. Part the petals and gently remove the bulbs, they are connected to the stem so make sure you are really gentle or you could snap the flower off the stem. IMG_0006 3 Now its time to stuff the flowers – gently part the petals again and make a little mound of the crumbled goats cheese and place it as close to the centre as you can. Make sure the petals cover the cheese stuffing and to close the flower simply twist the petals together, again very gently.

To make the flowers really crispy, I recommend before you fry them to dip them in tempura batter. To make the batter mix the flour and water and add a pinch of salt and whisk it well, ensuring there are no lumps.

In a pan heat some vegetable oil, dip the zucchini flowers in the tempura batter and shallow fry them on both sides.

Once fried, place the zucchini flowers on paper towels to dry of the excess oil. Tada they are ready to serve!