Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with Ricotta and Anchovies is a delicious appetizer or side dish typical of Italian cuisine.
This remarkable recipe captures the essence of Mediterranean cuisine, combining the tenderness of zucchini flowers, the creaminess of ricotta, and the savory notes of anchovies into a harmonious symphony of flavors.
Serve stuffed zucchini flowers, also known as zucchini blossoms or courgette blossoms, with a fresh caprese salad or a tasty tomato bruschetta. You’ll have a perfect and complete Italian summer lunch!
The most common cooking method for stuffed zucchini flowers is to fry them in batter. Certainly crispy and tasty, this method often masks the sweet, delicate flavor of the flower.
We will show you how to cook zucchini flowers in a definitely healthier and lighter way, without sacrificing their flavor and crispness.
In fact, baking brings out more of the flower’s natural sweetness. In addition, the ricotta and anchovy cream used to stuff the zucchini flowers is very tasty and creates an interesting sweet and savory contrast that is truly delicious.
Baked stuffed zucchini flowers are a quick and easy recipe that requires only a few simple steps. The only cautions are to bake the zucchini flowers as soon as you buy them, as they wilt quickly. It’s also a good idea to handle the flowers with care, as they are very delicate.
Zucchini flowers with ricotta and anchovies, eaten warm or at room temperature, are a real treat! So let’s see how to make stuffed zucchini flowers with ricotta and anchovies in the oven. Light and tasty, they bring the colors of summer to the table!
- Italian Stuffed Peppers (with Sausage)
- Sausage stuffed mushrooms
- Italian Stuffed Artichokes
- Stuffed Radicchio Leaves (with Mascarpone)
How to Make Italian Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
- Prep Time: 15 Min
- Cook Time: 10 Min
- Servings: 4
PLEASE NOTE: The number of courgette flowers you need depends on both the size of the flowers and the dish you want to prepare.
We have used two flowers per serving. Of course, if you intend to enjoy the stuffed zucchini flowers as a main dish, consider larger portions.
- 8 zucchini flowers
- 250 g (~ 1 cup) of Ricotta cheese
- 4-5 anchovy fillets in oil
- 100 g (~ 1 cup) of grated Parmigiano Cheese
- nutmeg to taste
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Step 1) – First, gently clean the zucchini flowers. Be careful when handling them as they are very delicate.
Remove the stem or small tender zucchini from the flower. Of course, you can use the zucchini for other recipes ( they are delicious raw too!).
Then remove the fleshy and bitter pistil inside the corolla. Be careful not to break the flower.
Step 2) – Now remove the spiny leaves at the base of the flower.
Finally, gently clean the petals with a damp cloth and set aside (for more details, see “How to Clean Zucchini Flowers” below).
Prepare the Ricotta Filling
Step 3) – Drain the anchovies well from the oil. Place them on a cutting board and cut them into small pieces with a knife.
Then place the ricotta in a bowl and add the anchovies.
PLEASE NOTE: choose a fairly dry and firm ricotta. If it’s too soft and runny, put it in a sieve and let it drain for at least an hour before using.
Step 4) – Now add the parmigiano cheese and nutmeg to taste.
Set aside 2 tablespoons of the grated parmesan for the final gratin and mix well.
Step 5) – Using a pastry-bag with a wide nozzle or a teaspoon, fill the zucchini flowers with the ricotta cream.
Fill to just over half full, then twist the petal tips to close the flowers.
Step 6) – Place the stuffed zucchini flowers on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Then brush them lightly with extra virgin olive oil.
Finally, sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano cheese and a little more oil.
Step 7) – Bake at 200°C (392°F) for 5-6 minutes. Then turn on the grill and leave the zucchini flowers in the oven for another 2 minutes.
You will have stuffed zucchini flowers with a lightly gratinated crust and a soft ricotta heart!
Serve the baked stuffed zucchini flowers hot or at room temperature.
How to Store Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
Store stuffed zucchini flowers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Warm lightly in the oven or microwave before serving.
Can I Freeze Zucchini Flowers?
Zucchini flowers are very tender and delicate, so it’s not possible to freeze them just as they are.
The only way is to freeze them already cleaned and ready to cook. For example, breaded or already stuffed as in the recipe we have shown you.
They will last about two months in the freezer.
Then, when it’s time to bake, put them in the oven while still frozen.
Another way to use frozen zucchini flowers is to cut them into pieces and put them in a freezer bag.
You can use them, still frozen, in risottos or in various condiments.
However, we recommend eating zucchini flowers fresh – they definitely taste better!
How to Choose Zucchini Flowers?
For the recipe with zucchini flowers to be successful, it’s necessary to choose the flowers carefully.
Therefore, when you go to buy them, pay attention to a few aspects.
First, the petals must be well swollen and straight, turgid and not wrinkled.
Next, the corolla should be a nice bright color and slightly open at the end. The stamens, if present, should also be bright yellow.
Finally, the flowers should be free of dark spots, curled tips, and tied together, all of which are signs of aging.
Therefore, once selected and purchased, the flowers should be cooked as soon as possible to be used while they are still fresh and firm.
How to Clean Zucchini Flowers
Once selected and purchased, it’s necessary to think about cleaning the zucchini or pumpkin flowers.
This operation is not complicated at all, but you must be very careful because of the delicacy that characterizes these flowers.
The method for cleaning the flowers also depends on how you want to cook them.
For example, if it’s not important that the flowers remain whole for the preparation of the dish, open the flower on one side and immediately cut it into strips, gently removing the pistil.
This is fine if you want to use the flowers as a seasoning, in pasta sauces or as a side dish.
On the other hand, if, as in our case, you want to make stuffed flowers, the cleaning is more delicate.
First you peel the tender zucchini or stem. Then it’s time to wash.
Some people wash the flowers under running water, others soak them in a solution of water and baking soda.
There is nothing wrong with these methods, but there is a risk that the flowers will lose their crispness and the petals will shrivel.
One tip is to clean them with a damp cloth, gently rubbing each petal.
To remove the pistil, open the petals gently, without damaging or breaking them, and separate the pistil from the inner base.
Then, with a knife, remove the growths and sometimes the prickly leaves to which the zucchini was attached. Be careful not to pierce the base.
Your pumpkin or zucchini flowers are clean and ready to be stuffed!
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers Recipes: Some Variations
Our recipe for baked stuffed zucchini flowers is one of the many variations of a classic Italian recipe that everyone from North to South does in their own way.
Some people do not like anchovies and stuff the zucchini flowers only with ricotta cheese. In this case, sheep’s or buffalo ricotta is recommended, which is much tastier than cow’s milk ricotta.
Often the flowers are stuffed with boiled potatoes and provolone or ham and mozzarella. But these are only examples.
Zucchini flowers, thanks to their delicate taste, can be easily combined with many ingredients such as meat, fish, cheese and vegetables.
So you can experiment and create irresistible stuffed zucchini flower recipes for your summer dinners!
Zucchini Flowers: Male and Female
For those who do not know, these beautiful and delicious orange flowers are both male and female.
You can tell male zucchini flowers by the stalk and inner stamen that contain the pollen, the trumpet-shaped corolla, and the long, thin stem that supports it. Male flowers are also slightly larger than those of the female variety.
Female zucchini flowers grow directly attached to the zucchini, so they have a short, low stem that widens at the base and coincides with the end of the vegetable.
Of course, both genders are edible and tasty.
The male flowers are usually gathered in bunches, while the other female flowers are sold with the zucchini.