Zucchinis can grow in abundance like a weed if you are privvy to the fact that you may have to umm ... facilitate zucchini sex. Sydney blogger Mel talks about this delicate topic at much length and with much hilarity on her blog. Being a novice gardener, I was positively thrilled when my zucchini seeds obediently sprouted within a day of planting. By the end of the week, the first of the maple-shaped leaves had popped up. At the end of the second week, the stalks had grown strong and hairy. Flower buds had popped up and we talked about what we would do with our zucchini harvest, because obviously there was going to be enough to sell at the local farmer's market. Every morning we would um and aah over the gorgeous yellow flowers. In a matter of days, one by one the flowers started dropping like flies whereas new ones would pop up every now and then. No zucchini in sight!
The first shadow of doubt loomed followed by a worrying bad feeling in the gut. So I did what I always do when I panic. Google it! It was then that I discovered the fascinating world of zucchini sex. From reading numerous articles and blogs, this is what I discovered about zucchinis. There are two kinds of zucchini flowers, male and female. The male has a male part in the centre that looks like, well - a male part (pictured). The female flower has a centre that is round with an opening and has a teeny tiny zucchini attached to the bottom of the flower which will eventually grow into a full zucchini if the female flower is fertilized. If there are no strong winds or bees in sight, you may have to enable zucchini sex yourself. Because the female flowers usually open very early in the morning, you may have to set an alarm to make this happen. Swabbing the pollen on the male part (centre part in the male flower) with a cotton bud, you quickly and gently dust/touch/swirl over the female part. Now that your part is done, you can go get yourself a strong cup of coffee. When you get back, you might see the female flower closed. All you can now do is pray and hopefully a zucchini will start to grow soon.
We managed to grow one zucchini during the season. ONE! What can I say, I am not much for setting alarms nor vegetable sex. But it was a good zucchini and deserved to be put in a special dish. I love mushroom sauce, the kind that you make for a Christmas roast. Creamy. White. Rich. Indulgent. But that is at Christmas. One can't possibly eat Christmas-rich food in February, at the peak of Australian summer. So I decided to make the creamy mushroom sauce with grated zucchini. A very light version of the indulgent white sauce, it went well with freshly cooked hot pasta and some simple seasoning. Next summer though, will be the era of the zucchinis. I can feel it!
MUSHROOM ZUCCHINI CREAM SPAGHETTINI
Strands of delicate pasta cooked in a beautiful creamy mushroom and shredded zucchini sauce for a posh dinner for two. Delightfully light and surprisingly easy.
Makes - To Serve 2
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 zucchini, grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups white whole button mushrooms
1 cup lite cream
2 tablespoons flour mixed with 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable/chicken stock
1 tablespoon raw sugar
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
few sprigs of fresh thyme
freshly grated Parmesan
extra thyme leaves to serve
Heat oil in a sauté pan on medium. Add onion, garlic and zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes till the onions start to caramelise. Add mushrooms. Cook for another 5 minutes till the tops of the mushrooms start turning golden.
Add cream, bay leaf, salt, sugar and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour water, stock and thyme. Mix well. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes until sauce starts to thicken.
Remove from heat. Toss through pre-cooked spaghettini and top with freshly grated parmesan and extra thyme leaves.
I thought all mine had carked it - and now they are going nuts! I have Lebanese and round ones (gave Black Jack a miss this year). Zucchini Chocolate Cake may be on the cards shortly ... then with the weather we are having there is always ratatouille or soups.
Getting down and dirty with zucchini is the same as pumpkins and spaghetti squash. Doesn't it feel like vegporn at times?
Hehehehe I had no idea about the zucchini sex! How interesting! Although I must admit I did snicker slightly when you mentioned it - so immature lol.
Love the recipe Sneh! Perfect match for a posh night in
Mmm well thanks for the sex lesson. Fascinating. Zucchini in anything tastes great to me so thanks God that can mostly manage to do this job themselves
I had the same problem as you! I had just one slightly stunted zucchini this year - Next year I will be armed with the cotton swabs! What a delightfully light and delicious meal - so perfect to showcase your home-grown zucchini!
Absolutely love the pairing of mushrooms and zucchini together! This recipe sounds wonderful and the photos are amazing! Thanks for sharing!!
Yum, I love zucchini and mushrooms together so much. Love your photos of the zucchini blossoms!
If it makes you feel better I only grew one zucchini last year too. This year I have been facilitating zucchini sex like mad and have had a bumper crop. So this recipe is timely and looks delicious. I have now moved onto pumpkin sex as it appears they need a bit of help as well.
Yesterday I found this site and everything looks great. I just made this and hour ago except I used penne pasta instead. It was a delicious lunch. PS Your pictures look beautiful. Looking forward to making some other recipes.
Hi, hi this was funny! Glad you at least got one zucchini after all your effort. I think the school had quite a good crop over the holidays - I assume the bees must of have done the job of fertilising there 🙂
No wonder my plant didn't give me even one zucchini. Had no idea I was supposed to.. um, facilitate! Your pictures are as always gorgeousness.
Wow Sneh, vegetable sex huh! I had NO IDEA such things can be done.
I grew up eating loads of pumpkin flowers which looks very much like zucchini flowers, wonder if the same concept is applied to grow pumpkins! Anyways, I love the soft tone of the photo and this dish would be prepared soon in my kitchen. Cause we can eat a light pasta meal any day and I have a zucchini at home.
Looks perfect for spring.
Do you stuff the blossoms? YUMMMMMM
I am right now starting a little terrace garden of my own and reading this story made me smile 🙂
A delicious combination! Perfect.
Your pictures are lovely!
I love zucchini, this pasta is a perfect use for it!
I never knew that much about zucchinis. I like the zucchini blossoms themselves, the more delicate taste..
The dish looks delicious...
Taking food porn to a whole new level :-).
This dish looks fabulous darling... And I learned so much from this post!
I love a creamy, vegetable heavy pasta. Super super comforting food. Reminds me of living at home.
Oh dear, my reputation as a zucchini pimp precedes me! I tell you Sneh, I had so much zucchini sex this summer that I'm surprise Dave didn't divorce me for cheating on him. My crop didn't do too well either, I started with about 6 plants and am now down to one that looks SO ill, but is actually producing fruit. I wonder if it's the weather? I've stopped sexing them as now I have to focus on the darn cucumbers!
Last year was my first summer with a garden. I expected a ton of zucchini but I wound up with 3! I'm still not sure what I did wrong but I'm looking forward to trying again. This pasta looks like a perfect way to use it up.
Never knew about the zucchini sex fact. The pasta sounds incredibly delicious.