Squash Blossom Pizza

When your younger sister goes to Lee Turkey Farms and tells you she brought you a present you may get a bit skeptical. I have made spectacular dishes from my farmers bounty in the past, like this Fresh Picked Pappardelle, which was amazing albeit made out of commonplace ingredients that were just so fresh they couldn't taste anything less than stellar. However, I am not going to get all that excited about Eggplant and Peppers or even fresh Corn on the Cobb. Then she tells me that she's gifting me a bag of SQUASH BLOSSOMS and that's where things get interesting.

I have a complete fascination with Squash Blossoms. They are basically the flower or "blossom" of a Zucchini squash. They grow out of the tops of the squash which are normally cut off during preparation. The blossoms are very delicate but as long as you don't rough house them too much you should be good. They have a very mild squash taste to them which won't overpower your dish but the true appeal to me is the beauty and delicacy of this tasty flower.

The Squash Blossom is pretty rare or so I think because I have never seen one at the supermarket, or even Whole Foods but maybe I just wasn't looking. Let me tell you though, it is worth seeking these out. They can beautify any dish from pizza to frittata or even tossed in a pasta with Parmesan cheese. The addition will completely elevate any dish you create and will impress any guests you may have. With any new vegetable, it's always good to experiment with it on a pizza because that way you really can't mess up. I know that Squash Blossoms are usually stuffed with a soft cheese, like ricotta, and deep fried so I decided to make a B├ęchamel cheese sauce as a base and top the pizza with thin Zucchini slices, dollops of Ricotta Cheese, Squash Blossoms, Crushed Red Pepper & Honey. Here's the recipe. Let's get cooking!

Squash Blossom Pizza

Bechamel Sauce
1 Tbs. Butter or Earth Balance
1 Tbs. Flour
1 Cup Milk
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1 Garlic Clove, grated or minced fine
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, grated
Freshly Cracked Salt and Pepper

1 package of Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, defrosted
1 Medium Zucchini, thinly sliced on a diagonal
1/4 Cup of Ricotta Cheese
8 Squash Blossoms
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly Cracked Salt and Pepper
1 Tbs. Honey

To start, preheat your oven to 450 degrees (or higher if your mom lets). Prep the Squash Blossoms by slicing in half and removing the bitter stem, wash well and dry. Make sure to remove the stem as it is bitter and inedible. 

In a small saucepan, melt Butter over medium heat until foamy. Add in Flour and whisk well until combined. Once the flour is completely dissolved about 2-3 minutes, add in your Milk. Next add the Nutmeg, Salt, Pepper and Garlic. 

Whisk together until the milk has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and mix in the grated Mozzarella Cheese. Stir until completely melted. 

Roll out your Pizza Dough and top with a layer of the Cheesy B├ęchamel Sauce. 

Next add Zucchini slices in a single layer. 

Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and top with Freshly Cracked Salt and Pepper and Crushed Red Pepper.

Next, top with small dollops of Ricotta Cheese. Cover each dollop of Ricotta with your halved Squash Blossoms. 

 Bake for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and crust is golden. 
Before serving top with a drizzle of Honey...because why not? 



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