Spring is finally here! Green is popping up through the fields and flowers are beginning to blossom. In a few more weeks, the trees will bud, and our backyards will be filled with vibrant colours and sunshine.
One of the best parts of spring is the local produce available, including peas, fava beans, lemons and cherries. Italian food is amazing all year round but with the variety of ingredients and flavours that come out of springtime it is definitely a time to be celebrated with beautiful Italian dishes.
Here are some of the best Italian dishes to celebrate ‘La primavera’ according to some of the best italian restaurants in Australia…
Peas with prosciutto & onions
This classic peas with prosciutto and onions side dish goes great with just about any grilled or roasted meat or poultry. I like this dish simply seasoned with a sprinkle of cracked black pepper, but if you wanted to, you could add some shaved or grated Pecorino Romano cheese on top. This is one of the easiest italian dishes that’s also incredibly yummy.
- 400g Thinly Sliced Prosciutto, Torn Into Bite Sized Pieces
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Small Sweet Onion, Chopped finely
- 600g Fresh Peas
- Cracked Black Pepper.
- First, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat
- once oil is heated add the onions and prosciutto.
- Cook until onions are soft and the prosciutto starts to crisp (6-7 minutes)
- Add the peas with 1/2 cup of water, and cook until the peas are tender crisp and the water has evaporated (5 minutes)
- Season with salt and pepper or some grated cheese and serve.
Spring greens Frittata
This is one of those recipes that can be made in many different ways depending on your vegetable preference or what you have available at the time, super quick but always turns out delicious, like all italian dishes!
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 onion cut finely
- ½ zucchini, thinly sliced
- 3 stalks asparagus slice quarters
- 2 small potatoes finely sliced
- 3 eggs, whisked
- 40g feta cheese, roughly crumbled
1. Heat oil in a small oven-proof frypan over medium heat
2. Add vegetables with the potatoes laying flat and let cook for three to five minutes until soft and lightly golden.
3. Pour over the whisked eggs
4. Sprinkle the top with feta.
5. Turn heat to low and let the frittata cook for five to six minutes until lightly golden on top and cooked through.
Fried zucchini blossoms
Among the many reasons to celebrate the coming of spring, fried zucchini blossoms rank high. It’s the time of year for one of my favourite italian dishes fried zucchini blossoms, crispy on the outside and pillowy and flavourful on the inside.
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- 1/4 cup of flour
- teaspoon of salt
- lager-style beer, or club soda
- 15 Zucchini blossoms
- Sea salt
Choice of stuffing
For vegetarian zucchini blossoms, stuff with mozzarella and sundried tomatoes, or you can mix it up with some mashed potatoes and steamed green beans
For non-vegetarian options, replace the classic anchovies with sliced meats such as prosciutto or mortadella
As for the cheeses, you can really get as creative as you like here. Try replacing mozzarella with scamorza or ricotta.
- Mix 1 Tbsp of flour with 1½ cups of water slowly adding more flour and more water until a smooth and consistent batter forms (not too thick or too thin).
- Wash the zucchini blossoms dry them carefully to prevent them from snapping.
- Remove the pistil and dip each blossom into the batter, covering fully.
- Stuff the fried zucchini blossoms with mozzarella and anchovies, remember not to overfill so that they don’t seep out spill.
- To close, join the ends of all the petals and rotate to
- repass the blossoms in the batter then, drain to eliminate excess batter and fry in boiling vegetable oil.
- Salt and serve to maintain their crispy texture.
Lemon ricotta zeppole
And last but not least one of the sweeter Italian dishes … Lemon Ricotta zeppole
For the lemon sugar:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 lemon, zest only
For the White Chocolate Pastry Cream:
- 1 3/4 cup full cream milk
- 6 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 egg yolks
- 600g white chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
For the Lemon Ricotta Zeppole:
- 300g ricotta
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- olive oil for frying
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 lemons, zest only
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar,
To make the lemon sugar add the sugar and lemon zest in a food processor for 1 minute. then pour into a shallow dish
To make the White Chocolate Pastry Cream
- In a large bowl mix the milk, heavy cream, beaten egg vanilla.
- In a large pot, add all the dry ingredients and mix
- place the pot over a medium heat on the stove and slowly add the milk mixture. Mix continuously
- Add the lemon zest and continue to stir non-stop.
- After about 7-8 minutes the mix should be thickening and forming a cream.
- Once it gets to desired cream consistency, remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the white chocolate until melted.
- strain the cream into another bowl to remove any lumps. Cool to room temperature.
To make the Zeppole
- Place the ricotta, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and sugar in a large bowl and mix until smooth.
- Whisk in the flour, salt and finally the baking powder together until you have a smooth batter then set aside
- fill the bottom of a high pot with oil for frying. You want your oil to be hot but not too hot, you can use a thermometer to regulate this.
- Fill a small glass or bowl with some oil too
- when the oil is hot dip a small ice cream scooper or spoon in the glass of oil first and then begin dropping scoops of batter into the hot oil. Fry in batches until golden (about 1-2 minutes each).
- Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
- Roll the Zeppole in the lemon sugar you made earlier and transfer them to a plate.
- Fill a Pastry bag with a small tip with the pastry cream. Using two toothpicks, make holes in the Zeppole and fill each one with cream. or you can use the pastry cream for dipping.
Our Menu also offers some fabulous dishes, perfect for any springtime Lunch or dinner. From our Prawn and Nduja pizza with a tomato base, fior di latte cheese, marinated chilli and garlic prawns, nduja, roasted cherry tomatoes, capers, rocket, extra virgin olive oil to our Grandiosa Beetroot salad with rocket, baby beetroot, stracciatella cheese, pistachios and 8yr aged balsamic vinegar, there is something to satisfy all taste buds here.
Next time you’re feeling hungry and searching “Italian restaurants near me” or If you’re simply looking for a fun and diverse dining experience, We would love to have you here this spring!
Come see us at our Italian restaurant in Sydney, Italian Street Kitchen.