Courgette flowers can be fried in a light tempura batter. They can be stuffed with various fillings and steamed and, in this manner, were once the height of fashion on restaurant menus. I have not fond memories of filling these delicate things with scallop mousse, poaching them and serving them on a beurre blanc sauce. What were we thinking? This idea is more rustic and much less pretentious.
1 Thinly slice 4 small courgettes.
2 Remove the stalk and stamen from about 12 courgette flowers and tear into strips.
3 Heat some butter in a pan and saute half a finely chopped onion.
4 Dice 4 rashers of bacon and add this to the pan, cook for a few minutes until the bacon starts to colour. Add the sliced courgettes, a few chopped chives and cook for a few more minutes. The courgettes just need to soften. Season and keep warm.
5 Cook your favourite ribbon pasta in plenty of boiling water. Drain.
6 Just before serving add the flower strips to the sauce and let them wilt.
7 Toss in the pasta, add some finely grated parmesan and serve immediately.
A tip that I learnt in Italy was to always add the pasta to the sauce, not vice versa. Also, it helps to integrate the two if you mix a little of the pasta water to the sauce just before combiningBy Grant Allen