I love zucchini flowers, but I refuse to do any deep frying at home, so most of the time I have to sit on the sidelines when I encounter the ingredient in a market. That’s why I was so excited last week when I came across Luca Donofrio latest fresh pasta innovation at Eataly, fiori di zucca-filled ravioli. I had to put off a purchase that day, but resolved to return when I did not already have a commitment to ingredients for a different meal.
Late Sunday afternoon I braved the crowds of tourists (and home cooks) inside that spectacularly successful food emporium, and managed to bag (box) some of the pasta.
I didn’t want to upstage the star ingredient, so I thought seriously about how I would ‘dress’ the pasta with a sauce. Most of the decision was made as soon as I spotted a very small plastic bag inside of our refrigerator of what I believed were two ‘yum yum’ peppers. I had thought they had disappeared earlier within a mix of tiny parti-colored bell peppers. If they actually were yum yums, they were the peppers the young man at the Union Square market stall had described as sweetly flavorful, but when I tasted a tiny sliver of one, raw, I decided they should not be added without some caution (they were far more hot than sweet, at least until introduced into the sauce and the ravioli, but they were certainly flavorful. They made the dish far more sophisticated than it would have been otherwise, and the taste of the fiori di zucca survived.
You never know about peppers, I’ve learned, or at least I never know about peppers.
NOTE: The image above does not include the freshly-ground black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese added to the top of the pasta after we had tasted the dish, and after I snapped the picture.
- twelve ounces of fiori di zucca-filled ravioli from Eataly and a sauce which began in a shallow pan with olive oil, sliced garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm which was warmed in the oil, finely-chopped yum yum peppers from Berried Treasures Farm added just before the vessel was removed from the heat, and fresh oregano from Rise & Root Farm (Union Square Greenmarket) added before the cooked, drained pasta was turned into the sauce pan, where some of the reserved pasta water was added and emulsified, the mix arranged in two bowls and minutes later sprinkled with freshly-grated Red Cow Parmesan cheese from Eataly
- the wine was an Italian (Tuscany) white, San Quirico Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2014
- the music was Jean-Philippe Rameau’s ‘Dardanus’, performed by Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre, Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre