Squash blossom & walnut pesto pasta salad can be served warm or cold. I shave in baby summer squash for a little crunch. Add some warm rendered pancetta or grilled shrimp or both for a heartier main.
I normally like to stuff squash blossoms and deep fry them, but I wanted something quick and fresh this time around. I sautéed the blossoms in a little olive oil with sea salt until slightly browned. Make sure to remove the yellow stamen inside the flower – it’s bitter tasting.
Freshly made basil pesto is the best. If you think pesto is played out, then blend up a big bunch of farmer’s market basil with olive oil, garlic, walnuts and real Parmesan and see if that changes your mind. Super market pesto just doesn’t have the same freshness or flavor and often skimps on the expensive ingredients. Pine nuts are traditional with pesto but I prefer the bite of walnuts and they are much cheaper – they’re also local so that’s an added bonus. For a pesto recipe check out one of my older posts: BASIL PESTO!
I’ve always wondered why zucchini flowers are so expensive in the markets because they are so ridiculously abundant on just one single plant. The flowers I pick from my garden hold up for at least a week and I’m not overly conscientious when I pick them, often storing them in a bag in the fridge. Farmer’s markets should be carrying flowers over the next few months at reasonable prices. Or befriend a zucchini grower in your neighborhood! (but beware, you will be up to your eyeballs in zucchini throughout the season – I always pawn off tons of zukes to whoever will take them!)