pesto pasta with zucchini flowers and Romanesco cauliflower

Fiori di zucca, or zucchini flowers, are a favorite summertime ingredient when we are in Rome. On our pizzas, in our pasta, in our panini. Nearly unknown in the US homeland where certain Italian recipes and food items fail to immigrate, we once bought some stateside flowers to make pretty good risotto but that was a one time thing. During May-June we frequently see these colorful veggie byproducts in the supermarkets in Rome, so this summer we picked some up with a head of Romanesco cauliflower we spotted and made some orecchiette pesto pasta.

Simple stuff. Saute the prepped zucchini flowers (pistels removed, chopped) in EVOO with a little red pepper flakes, boil the prepped Romanesco (cleaned, florets separated, cut smaller if needed) with the pasta after a head start to help cook the veggies, drain, and combine with some ready pesto sauce and parmigiano and serve. Maybe this belongs in the instructions?


1 lb pasta of your choice (we used orecchiette)
2–3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 t red pepper flakes (to taste)
a package of zucchini flowers
1 head of Romanesco cauliflower prepped
1/2 c (approximately to taste) pesto sauce
1/2 c freshly grated parmigiano plus extra for serving


  1. This is a slight variation of the usual pesto pasta recipe, see notes. 
  2. Boil the Romanesco floret pieces for 10 minutes in salted water, then throw in the pasta and cook until al dente.
  3. Meanwhile saute the cutup zucchini flowers until softened, add a touch of red pepper flakes to liven up the taste.
  4. Combine the drained pasta and Romanesco in the sauce pan with the pesto sauce.
  5. Remove from heat and mix in the parmigiano.
  6. Serve with extra cheese.


  1. Risotto ai fiori di zucca (risotto with zucchini flowers).
  2. Olive leaf pasta with zucchini and pesto.
  3. Zucchini pesto pasta.
  4. Illustrations available.
pastazucchiniflowerromanesco.htm: 7-aug-2019 [what, ME cook? � 1984 dr bob enterprises]