Fiori Di Zucchine Ripieni ~ Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
Courtesy of Chef Raffaele, Positano
Prepared in our Secret Garden Positano™ Cooking Tour: https://www.cooking-vacations.com/tour/positano-cooking-classes-amalfi-coast/
Squash flowers are ever blooming throughout the summer, especially on the Amalfi Coast, where the constant sun, volcanic soil and sea air contribute to their healthy growth. Italians are creative in using the delicate petals in frittata, pasta or even stuffed and flash fried. Here, Chef Raffaele shares his version from Positano.
- 12 Zucchini flowers
- 1 cup Mozzarella, as needed, chopped
- 2 cups Ricotta
- Several leaves Fresh Basil
- Parmigiano Reggiano, grated, to taste
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Flour, as needed
- 2 Eggs, beaten, as needed
- Breadcrumbs, as needed
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Peanut or Sunflower Oil, for frying
Clean the zucchini flowers in cold water. Pull off all stems around the outside of the flower and remove inside stem gently.
Next, prepare the filling. Mix together the chopped mozzarella (squeeze off extra liquid if needed), ricotta, several leaves of fresh basil that have been torn into small pieces, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Fill each zucchini flower with the cheese filling and gently twist the ends of the flower to close. Dip each flower in the flour, then in the beaten egg, and then in the breadcrumbs.
Heat peanut or sunflower oil in a large frying pan until very hot. Immerse each flower gently in the hot oil. Fry the flowers until golden, turning as needed to cook evenly.
Remove from oil, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, and serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, sea salt and chopped fresh basil, as desired.
Fettuccine Di Basilico ~ Pasta With Basil Pesto
Courtesy of Chef Terenzio and Chef Mara
Prepared in our Villa O™ Cooking Tour: https://www.cooking-vacations.com/tour/v-i-p-tuscan-cooking-at-the-villa-8-day/
With green gardens in full bloom, what better time to create Italian pesto and handmade pasta than the summer months? Basil is one of those herbs that, when blended with nuts, creates a sweet and salty taste. This simple recipe actually dates back to the Renaissance in Florence, when sweet and salty flavors were often combined. This classic pasta with pesto recipe was created by Leonardo DaVinci. We have his original recipe in our Renaissance All Women Cooking Tour!
- A generous handful of fresh Basil Leaves
- ½ cup of pine nuts or almonds or pistachios
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced into small pieces
- 1/4 cup or more of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/4 cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 lb fettuccine dry pasta
- Sea Salt, to taste
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to taste, enough to create a smooth consistency
Place the basil leaves, nuts, garlic and salt in a blender and blend until the mixture is almost creamy. Add the cheese. Lastly, add the olive oil, starting with a ¼ cup, and watching the consistency. Add enough olive oil to make the mixture creamy. Adding the oil last protects the precious basil from burning.
Cook the pasta al dente. When done, remove from heat, and keep a little of the starchy pasta water in case you need to add it to the pasta and pesto. Mix the pasta and pesto well. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Granita di Fragole Siciliano~Strawberry Sicilian Granita
Courtesy of Chef Davide
Prepared in our A Tale of Two Cities™ Cooking Tour: https://www.cooking-vacations.com/tour/taormina-cooking-classes/
Granita is a semi-frozen drink and or dessert made from seasonal fruit, sugar and water. Originally from Sicily, it is now served throughout all of Italy. In Sicily and southern Italy, kiosks or even push-carts are set up to sell melon, orange, lemon and other seasonal fruit versions of this refreshing slushed ice. Simple to make and delicious to taste, granita is a summer favorite for all ages.
- 2 cups hulled strawberries
- 1 ¼ cups water
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 handful of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries for garnishing
Place the hulled strawberries in a deep pan and add the water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the strawberries are soft. Strain the juice from the fruit, remove the berries and measure the juice. You will need 1 ¼ cups, 12fl oz, of liquid. If you fall short, add clean bottled water.
Return the juice to the pan, add the caster sugar and heat until dissolved. Let it cool, then freeze and whisk to make granita. Garnish with the berries and serve.