Squash Blossoms are very seasonal, so if you find yourself with an abundant supply, you should definitely give this Torchio Pasta recipe a try. The sauce is light so that the squash blossoms really shine through, and you can always add more than the recipe calls for if the taste isn't strong enough for you.
Chef and owner of RIALTO
in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Jody Adams (who was also a James Beard Foundation Semifinalist for Outstanding Chef this year) has been allowing us to take a peek at her favorite recipes via her self-owned food blog, The Garum Factory
. Adams shares the fantastic blog with her husband, Ken Rivard, who takes all of the bright photographs of the cooking steps and finished products.
This sauce cooks very quickly. If you have all of your ingredients ready the sauce will be finished by the time the pasta is done.
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup minced shallots
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ounce prosciutto sliced paper thin and cut into ⅛-inch julienne
- 4 ounces male squash blossoms, stamens removed, trimmed of spiny bits at the base and torn lengthwise into strips ½-inch wide*
- 2 tablespoons minced black olives, such as Nicoise or Taggia (nothing cured in oil or vinegar)
- ¼ cup torn herb leaves: basil, parsley, oregano
- ¾ pound torchio pasta (gigli or orecchiette are good substitutes)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
*Leave female blossoms whole. Pinch off the baby squashes and slice crosswise into thin rounds. Remove any structures inside the flowers.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water large enough to hold the tomatoes. Score a shallow cross in the base of each tomato. One at a time lower the tomatoes into the boiling water for 10 seconds, then transfer them to the ice water. Don’t let them linger in the boiling water. Your aim is to loosen the skin, not cook the flesh. Peel as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. The skins should come right off. Slice the peeled tomatoes and then chop into ½-inch dice. Set aside.
Salt the boiling water. Add the pasta, stir until it returns to a boil, and then cook per the package instructions until al dente (probably around 10 minutes). While the pasta cooks, make the sauce as outlined in the next step up to the point where you add the pasta. When the pasta finishes cooking, reserve ½ cup pasta water, then drain the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots (and sliced squash, if using), and cook 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook 3 minutes. Add the prosciutto, blossoms, olives and herbs. Toss once and remove from the heat. Add half the reserved pasta water, the remaining butter and the pasta. Return the pan to the heat, and toss for a minutes or so just until the sauce clings evenly to the pasta. If it feels too dry, add the remaining pasta water.
Serve in warm bowls. Pass the cheese.