Courgette flowers: 5 recipes and which wines to pair with them


Italian gastronomic tradition - especially that of poorer, peasant extraction - is at the forefront when it comes to using ingredients commonly considered waste. The trend does not only concern pork - of which, according to a famous proverb, 'you can't throw anything away' - but also vegetables, often the protagonists of food waste. Among the recycled ingredients that have made history in home cooking are squash blossoms, inflorescences that grow at the ends of courgettes or on the pumpkin plant, rich in vitamins and mineral salts, and perfect for creating simple but tasty dishes.

Here are 5 recipes with squash blossoms and the best wines to match!


1. A timeless classic: batter-fried squash blossoms


When in a region, fried is where you are. In the case of fried zucchini flowers - a great classic of Italian aperitifs and street food - it is Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Basilicata and Calabria that share the custom of cooking these particular inflorescences in various ways. In the simplest version, they are dipped in a batter of flour, water and beer and fried in plenty of boiling oil, but true connoisseurs of the genre prefer to enrich the whole thing by stuffing the flowers with a piece of cheese or mozzarella and an anchovy, to conquer the palate with an explosion of flavours that will immediately make you want to ask for seconds.

The wine paired with these recipes for stuffed courgette flowers must be able to degrease the palate from the greasiness of the frying, while supporting the savouriness of the anchovies, such as a Prosecco DOC Rosè Spumante Millesimato 2021. Particularly suitable for fish dishes and tasty hors d'oeuvres, it goes well with fried squash blossoms, thanks to a refreshing effervescence and a lively organoleptic bouquet, in which hints of flowers and red fruits can be perceived, with a hint of violets. A true master of the art of the aperitif!

2. Pasta with courgette flowers, feta and breadcrumbs

Using pumpkin flowers in Italian gastronomy means finding a variety of ways to turn them into a tasty condiment for pasta dishes. On cookbooks and blog articles there are recipes for all tastes, from light to full-bodied, enriched with intense and spicy flavours.

Fragrant and tasty, pasta with squash blossoms, feta cheese and breadcrumbs is perfect for tantalising the palate during spring and summer lunches. In this dish, the natural sweetness of the pasta clashes with the sour aftertaste of the Greek cheese, while the breadcrumbs give it a distinctive, slightly crunchy texture. The result of these recipes for pasta with squash blossoms is an excellent balance of different flavours, deserving of a wine with a racy character.

In this case, one can bet on a red wine with a good alcohol content, such as a Cannonau di Sardegna DOC, characterised by a notable presence of tannins and clearly recognisable Mediterranean suggestions. On tasting, it is slightly spicy and balsamic, suitable for pairing with local cheeses, but also capable of marrying with the intense flavours of feta.

3. Risotto with courgette flowers and prawns

Excellent on their own or with other vegetables, cured meats, cheeses and savoury meats, squash blossoms also go well with seafood ingredients, creating a special partnership with prawns. The latter, characterised by a soft flesh with a slightly sweetish aftertaste, find in zucchini flowers excellent allies to create a tasty and light condiment for risottos that are easy to prepare, but excellent for surprising diners with a different recipe.

The best wine to pair with squash blossom recipes like this one is a light and delicate white, such as a versatile Vermentino di Sardegna DOC 2022, the protagonist of perfect pairings with vegetables and seafood dishes. Characterised by a straw-yellow colour with green reflections and an aromatic charge reminiscent of a bouquet of flowers, Vermentino releases its refreshing soul thanks to its citrus scents, which also add a bitterish touch on the finish.

4. Pizza with zucchini flowers and sausage

Margherita, marinara and quattro stagioni are true evergreens for pizza fans, but this gastronomic sector has long since shown that with a pinch of creativity it is possible to create unusual combinations, and - why not - new trends. Pumpkin flower and sausage pizza is an excellent culinary gimmick to give the palate a perfect balance between the delicacy of these inflorescences and the savouriness of the sausage, which immediately invites you to take a second slice.

The choice of pairing in this case falls on uncorking a bottle of velvety Cabernet Sauvignon Puglia IGT.

It takes a character like that of this wine - which becomes more biting with age - to best support the salty, unctuous flavour of the sausage. The floral and spicy aromas and particular hints of violets and pepper are excellent traits to hold up to even the most intense aftertaste!

5. Pumpkin flower and spring onion omelette

In the hustle and bustle of the everyday routine, the omelette embodies that quick meal that can be prepared even when time is short. However, with a few extra ingredients and care, this recipe can be enriched and ennobled, e.g. by adding pumpkin flowers and spring onion to the beaten egg, which give it an extra touch of flavour and colour.

The best combination of wine and squash blossoms in this case is a bottle that can handle the intense scents of pan-cooked egg and vegetable, which counterbalance the delicacy of the flowers. The choice may fall on a Lugana DOC, a wine that particularly appreciates lakeside recipes, but which also knows its stuff when paired with egg dishes and vegetables with intense and persistent aromas. In this task it excels thanks to a good structure and body, but above all to an innate freshness, conferred by the savoury taste and the organoleptic notes of flowers, peach, citrus and tropical fruits.

Now that you know how to cook squash blossoms, it's time to get the wine you need to match them at their best. Explore the Giordano Wines catalogue!