Stuffed zucchini flowers on basil pesto
Preparation time: 45 minutes + standing + cooling
Cooking time: 25 minutes
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For 4 people.
12 zucchini flowers, stamens removed
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Chopped pistachios and lemon zest for garnish
2 liters whole milk 60 ml lemon juice
1 tsp salt
100g unsalted mixed nuts
100 g cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large bunch of basil, leaves picked
1 cup spinach leaves
3 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan
½ lemon, cored, cored, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ tsp chicken broth powder
125 ml olive oil
300g fresh ricotta (as above)
Finely grated zest of a large lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten
25 g finely grated Pecorino cheese
100g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
Approx. 150 ml mineral water
1. To make ricotta, add the milk to a large saucepan over low heat. Add lemon juice and salt and stir gently. Cook until curds form on top.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the quark into a muslin-lined sieve. Set aside to cool and drain. Transfer to a large bowl and season. Cool.
3. For the pesto, process the nuts, cannellini beans, basil, spinach, pecorino, chopped lemon, garlic and stock powder into a fine puree. With the engine running, drizzle in the oil until smooth and well mixed. Season.
4. For the filling, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Season.
5. Using a spoon or syringe, spoon the filling into the zucchini flowers until they are about 2/3 full. Gently twist the petals to enclose them. Do not overfill the zucchini flowers, otherwise they may burst during frying.
6. To make the dough, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add enough sparkling water to create a smooth batter that has the consistency of thick cream.
7. Dip zucchini flowers into the batter and allow excess to drip off.
8. Deep fry until golden brown and crispy. Drain on absorbent paper. With salt.
9. Serve stuffed zucchini flowers with pesto. Garnish with pistachios and lemon zest.
Try making a beer batter by replacing the sparkling water with light Italian beer.
How quickly the quark forms when making ricotta can depend on how acidic the lemons are. If the curd doesn’t come together quickly enough, add another tablespoon of lemon juice.
Store remaining fresh ricotta in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Stir through pasta or spread on bagels.
If you prefer a thinner pesto, add a tablespoon of oil, lemon juice, or water.