If you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you would know that we (me and my husband) just got back from a wonderful trip to Northern Italy. Most of our time was spent in the Piedmont region, which includes the city of Turin. While we were in Turin, we dined at a wonderful little restaurant in the Piazza Vittorio called Porta di Savona. This restaurant sits inside an old tavern and has separate quaint rooms filled with local Italian diners. The waitstaff doesn’t speak much English, but somehow could help us find exactly what we were looking for, squash blossoms.
The squash blossoms we had were filled with a warm herb ricotta cheese with a sprinkling of fresh diced tomatoes, olives and an herb oil. I immediately came home to make this recipe. So, here is my version of Squash Blossoms with Warm Herb Ricotta — I hope you enjoy it. By the way, I used pumpkin blossoms for this recipe because my squash blossoms have finished their season, but you can still find squash blossoms at some farmers markets.
6-8 squash or pumpkin blossoms
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese, preferably whole milk
1/4 cup mixed fresh herbs – thyme, chives, mint or rosemary
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 fresh tomato
1/4 cup kalamata olives
2 ounces Tuscan Pecorino, or other semi-soft cheese like goat or feta
(Serves 2-4 appetizer servings)
1. Fill a small pot with water and heat on high until boiling. Wash and dry the squash blossoms.
2. Wash, dry and remove herbs from the stems. Chop the herbs and set aside 1 tablespoon for the herb oil and save the rest for the ricotta cheese.
3. In a small bowl, add the ricotta cheese. If the ricotta is runny, press out any excess water through a fine mesh strainer, otherwise add it to the bowl.
4. Heat the bowl of ricotta for 1 minute in the microwave. Remove it from the microwave and add the chopped fresh herbs and lemon zest. Then, add a pinch of salt and pepper to the ricotta mixture and stir until combined.
5. Next, add the ricotta cheese mixture to a piping bag or sandwich bag with the corner snipped. Then, add the squash blossoms to the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Remove the blossoms immediately and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
6. Quickly, dice the tomato and olives and set aside. In a small dish, mix the last tablespoon of herbs with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
7. Dice the cheese into small chunks and set aside.
8. Pipe the ricotta cheese into the squash blossoms and set on a plate. If you are having trouble with getting the blossoms to open, wedge your finger down first or peel back gently to open. They don’t need to be perfect!
9. Sprinkle the diced tomatoes, olives and cheese around the blossoms and drizzle the herb oil around the perimeter of the plate. Enjoy!