Spaghetti with Zucchini Blossoms and Saffron
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 1 large sweet white onion, such as Vidalia,
- 1 1⁄2 lb. small zucchini, cut into rounds
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- Generous pinch of saffron threads, toasted
- 3⁄4 cup chicken or vegetable stock, heated
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Leaves from 3 or 4 large fresh thyme sprigs,
- About 12 zucchini blossoms, trimmed and
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or grana
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the water, add the pasta and cook until al dente, 7 to 9 minutes.
Meanwhile, dissolve the saffron in the hot stock. Add the saffron mixture, the lemon zest and thyme to the fry pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to blend the flavors. Add the zucchini blossoms and heat through until wilted, about 1 minute.
Drain the pasta and transfer to a warmed large, shallow bowl. Add the butter and 2 heaping Tbs. of the cheese and toss. Add the sauce and toss gently. Serve immediately. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.