These are the first of my loot to get cooked this week because they tend to only last a day or so after they’re harvested. In fact, I made them for lunch when I returned from the market because, frankly, I was starving. Normally I would invite someone over for lunch to enjoy these bright orange delicacies with me, but I decided that Sunday, for the most part, was going to be a “me” day. I am naturally a very extroverted person, which actually made me wary of moving into an apartment by myself. I crave life in relationship to other people and I just wasn’t sure how I was going to cope. It took a little time, but four years later I find myself craving my “alone time”. I cook, clean, sleep, watch really terrible TV shows, and cuddle with my adorable cat, Maggie. It’s time that I have to breathe, process what’s going on in my life, and prepare myself to face the world every day. What can I say? Sometimes you just have to take time to say ifoodyou to yourself as well.
Okay, back to the squash blossoms. They’ve been a favorite of mine ever since I regularly consumed their fluffy, fried iteration when I was in Italy as a junior in college. Their bold, marigold color is so appealing, yet I know that many people don’t know exactly what to do with them. Which is why, as the spring and summer progress, it is likely that they will make regular appearances here. You can look forward to them stuffed, fried, and maybe even used in soups. I probably would have made them fried this time around, but since I only had five blossoms to use, I figured that making the batter and getting all the oil out was just a little too much for my relaxing afternoon. So, instead of making a huge mess, I decided to turn them into a simple pasta dish. This sauce is colorful and silky smooth without even a hint of cream. With the exception of the carbalicious pasta and a serious dusting of grated parmesan cheese, this recipe is actually pretty healthy. I also used one of my ramps to amp up the onion flavor.
Linguini with Squash Blossom Sauce
Linguini or other long pasta like papardelle or tagliatelle
1 ramp, thinly sliced, greens reserved for the end
1 medium shallot, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
5 squash blossom (if male, stamens removed), sliced up
3-4 baby zucchini, like the ones the blossoms come attached to, diced
1 ½ cups good (read: homemade) chicken stock
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 roasted garlic glove, smashed to a paste
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil, plus more for pasta
1 egg yolk
Grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Prepare the veggies as directed in ingredients list. In a sauté pan heat butter and olive oil, then add the veggies. Season lightly with salt and pepper (you don’t want to salt too heavily as the reducing stock will get increasingly salty). Sauté for 3-4 minutes until everything is softened, then add ½ cup of stock and reduce heat. Simmer for 3-4 more minutes until sauce is reduced a bit, then add another ½ cup of stock. Repeat for the last ½ cup then simmer until reduced and the flavors of the veggies and the stock meld. Somewhere in this process stir in smashed garlic. When the sauce is the desired consistency, turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water. When it’s “al dente”, strain and reserve 1/3 cup hot pasta water. Break the egg yolk in a medium bowl and slowly drizzle hot pasta water into the yolk while whisking vigorously. The mixture will become frothy. Add egg mixture to pasta sauce and turn very low heat back on. Add pasta and toss to coat. Turn off heat. Serve in bowls dusted with a generous amount of parmesan or pecorino cheese.