Female zucchini flowers are sold with baby zucchini attached. For this pasta, we've separated the two elements and treated each one differently - the crisp fried blossom contrasts beautifully with the raw baby zucchini. Serve the pasta hot or at room temperature.
- 12 female zucchini flowers
- 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil (1/3 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ½ Spanish onion, thinly sliced
- Finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
- 400 gm dried penne
- 1 cup mint, coarsely torn (loosely packed)
- 50 gm pecorino, finely grated, plus extra to serve
- 1Detach zucchini flowers from baby zucchini. Tear flowers in half and thinly slice baby zucchini into rounds, then set aside.
- 2Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add zucchini flowers and cook until crisp (2-3 minutes), remove with a slotted spoon, drain on absorbent paper and set aside. Add garlic and onion to oil, sauté until tender (2-3 minutes), remove from heat, add lemon rind and juice, season to taste and set aside.
- 3Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (6-7 minutes), drain (reserve 2 tbsp pasta water). Return pasta and reserved pasta water to pan, add onion mixture, mint, pecorino and zucchini, season to taste and toss to combine. Serve scattered with zucchini flowers and extra pecorino.