I grew up eating these bright yellow blossoms* Italian-style – filled like a ravioli and deep fried with a healthy (as in huge) helping of pasta. Ours is vegan, of course, so we replaced the traditional ricotta with a Lemon & Garlic Pesto-ish Tofu filling. I really think the bright, savory flavors really compliment the fresh blossoms, but you can also use the Kalamata Olive Pesto recipe, or the Vegan Ricotta recipe we used in our Manicotti recipe last December. We ate ours with Whole Wheat Spaghetti tossed in a Summer Sauce, some red wine, and a helping of True Blood – Season 4. (Was that a gasp I heard around the internet from all you True Blood DVD watchers?)
Yeah, my anniversary present this year was HBO & Showtime. Dan knows the way to my heart is paved with vampires, mobsters, vigilante serial killers, the sordid back story behind one of the more corrupt Italian legacies in history, and of course fantasy clan wars. Isn’t it kind of marvelous when you meet that person that just gets you?
And what could be more romantic than feeding the one you love this classic Italian delicacy? Besides Vampires – obviously.
Pasta con Fiori di Zucca Ripieni Vegetariani (Italian Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Pasta)
1 Dozen Fresh Squash Blossoms (be sure and cut the stem off)
1 Package Extra Firm Tofu
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil (chopped)
2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Tablespoons Lemon Zest
2 Tablespoons Daiya Vegan Mozzarella (shredded)
2 Tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 1/2 teaspoon Nutritional Yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Thyme
3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup Applesauce
2 Cups Olive Oil
Vegan Parmesan to sprinkle over the top
Put the tofu in your favorite superstar food processor or blender and blend until it is a paste. Put the Tofu mash in a large bowl and mix with Basil, Garlic, Lemon Zest, Daiya, 1 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder, Oregano, Sea Salt, Pepper and Thyme large spoon until blended. If you have a pastry bag set or decorating gun, fill that with the Tofu filling and set it up with the largest tip.
Gently fill your Squash Blossoms with the Tofu filling using the decorating tool. You want to fill it till you can see and feel the Blossom swell. Be careful though and go slow. I mean you’re filling a flower. It will pop or tear if you’re not careful. Flowers expect you to be ladylike. They’re jerks like that.
Put your Olive Oil into a deep pot or Dutch Oven and heat on high. Once your Oil begins to boil – you are ready to go!
Fill a shallow bowl with Flour and 2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder and another with Applesauce. Take your Blossoms and slowly roll them in Flour and then dip them in the Applesauce and then roll them again in the Flour.
Now this might be a good time to use the deep frying tip we used in to make the Beer Battered Tofu because this can be a really messy process – like crazy messy.
Pick one hand to be flour, and one to be batter. Then, using your flour hand, take one of the Blossoms and put it into the Flour, and only using that hand, cover the Blossom. You want to make sure you get it in all the little nooks and pockets.
Then, with your flour hand, remove the Blossom from the Flour and put it into the Applesauce. Be careful and don’t get any Applesauce on your flour hand.
Now, using your applesauce hand, flip and cover the blossom with a healthy amount of Applesauce… again we’re using the term “healthy” to describe bunches and bunches.
Now, using your applesauce hand move the Blossom back to the Flour. Using a spoon gently cover the Blossoms with Flour. You’ll be rolling it in the Flour and spooning some over the top.
Use a slotted spoon to remove your Blossom from the Flour bowl and place it in the hot Oil. Be careful to not let your Blossoms touch the side. Fry your Blossoms for no more than 5 minutes. You want them to be a light golden brown.
Using your slotted spoon, remove your Blossom. Be careful to not break your crusty, golden-delicious batter when you’re getting it. Place on a plate with some paper towels to soak up extra oil.
Between Blossoms, take your slotted spoon and remove any bits of fried batter that have fallen off, so they don’t stick to the next Blossom.
Serve with some pasta and maybe a side of breathe mints because for a romantic dinner it does have a lot of garlic.
* I love flowers. I love having them in our home and walking around gardens. I love rosewater lemonade, violet flavored candies and salads full of beautiful petals. Now squash and zucchini blossoms don’t really have a floral flavor but they are still one of my very favorite summertime dishes. I’m willing to admit that my affection for floral foods might have something to do with their looks. I mean that might sound shallow but they’re really unique yellow flowers and there is something to that whole eating with your eyes thing… and these little buddies have a inner beauty that’s undeniable. But being interesting doesn’t really explain the little drawer in my heart where I have filed away my undying affection for squash blossoms… like some card catalog in an library from my childhood. If you’re over the age of 15 you know what I’m talking about… all those little index cards and Dewey Decimal system codes magically making sense out of a sea of information. I’m on a tangent waxing nostalgic for the days before bar codes were everywhere.