squash blossom orzotto

Squash Blossom Orzotto

This orzotto gets a double dose of zucchini in the form of broiled zucchini coins and chopped squash blossoms. Its mild flavor is enhanced by the addition of a tiny bit of saffron and some nutty Parmesan cheese.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 –8
Author Michelle Frank


  • 3 tbsp. butter divided
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup orzo
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth preferably
  • homemade or low-sodium
  • 1/4 cup finely minced shallots
  • 6 squash blossoms
  • 2 medium zucchini washed and cut into 1/2" thick coins
  • 1 small pinch saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup good-quality Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. chiffonade of fresh Italian parsley for garnish



  1. Adjust oven rack to the second-highest position. Set your broiler on high.
  2. Toss zucchini coins in the olive oil, Romano cheese, a couple of liberal pinches of salt, and several grinds of black pepper. ​
  3. Set the coins onto a baking rack set over an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Place under broiler, checking frequently, until browned on one side. Flip the coins and repeat on the other side, making sure that the coins don't get overcooked.


  1. Add broth to a saucepan and bring to a low simmer; reduce heat to medium-low. Add the saffron, first crumbling the threads in between your fingers. Place a ladle in the broth.
  2. Pull the orange squash blossoms from the prickly, green, leafy part at the bottom (the calyx), making sure to keep the fleshy, pale-colored portion near the bottom. Pull the squash blossoms open and remove the stamen (at the center of the flower). Wash gently under cold water and pat dry. Chiffonade.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. of the butter to a heavy-bottomed pot and melt over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the orzo and sauté for 2 minutes, or until slightly darkened and toasty-smelling.
  4. Turn the heat to high and add the wine. Stir continuously until the wine is almost completely absorbed.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-high and add in a ladleful of broth. Bring to a simmer, stirring continuously, until the broth is absorbed. Add another ladleful of broth and repeat.
  6. When about 3/4 of the broth has been added to the orzo, or after about 12 minutes, check the texture of the orzo. I like it just past al dente.
  7. Add the squash blossoms, remaining butter, and Parmesan cheese, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and check the seasoning, adjusting as necessary. Garnish with parsley and zucchini coins; serve immediately. Enjoy!