Italians love to complain about Italy. Seriously, talk to an Italian for a couple minutes and they will 99% of the time start ranting about how nothing works in Italy, how the economy/government/things in general are messed up. They must take its immense beauty for granted, because I would willingly live with all those problems if I knew I could wake up to this view every morning.
This is Lerici, a little town on the Ligurian coast. I visited a few years ago, and it took my breath away. So in honor of Lerici I decided to share a quasi-Ligurian recipe involving the most famous condiment of the region, pesto.
These are ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers with pesto, and I highly recommend you make them for your next lunch. In Italy, zucchini flowers are widely available, but in the states it might be a little harder to find them. though recently I am seeing more of them at farmer’s markets in the US.
Ricotta-Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with Pesto
grated parmiggiano reggiano
1 large bunch basil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Gently wash the flowers and remove the stamen inside without ripping the petals. Prepare the filling: mix the ricotta with grated parmiggiano to taste and then beat in the egg until the mixture is homogeneous.
Spoon the filling into the flowers and put them on a baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
While the flowers are in the oven, make the pesto. In a food processor, blend the basil with a handful of pinenuts, about 1/2 cup grated parmiggiano, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add salt to taste.
When the flowers are done, put them on a plate and drizzle the pesto on top. Enjoy!