Spring in Italy brings the season of fiori di zucca, a food ingredient largely unknown here in the USA, in spite of the importance of Italian cuisine within our melting pot food culture. Some things just fail to make it across the ocean. Over there they are universally found battered and deep fried, usually with mozzarella and anchovies wrapped inside, often as a pizzeria appetizer, but they are exquisite in pasta and risotto.
We've experienced them in restaurants in Italy and have experimented with them in our own stateside or summer Roman kitchens. They add a little something special as variations of traditional "primi" (first dishes, typically pasta and risotto). Here are our encounters with fiori:
Roman market fresh fiori di zucca 2023 courtesy of Katie Parla, who reminded us of our love for this flower and the fact that we will miss its season this spring due to a late Rome arrival.