Sunshine of Mimosa Flowers: Saffron and Courgette Bucatini Recipe

One of my favourite Italian traditions is the giving and receiving of mimosa flowers to women for La Festa della Donna (International Women’s Day) on 8 March. 

The tradition was introduced in 1946 by Teresa Mattei, the youngest Italian politician to be elected to the Constituent Assembly, and one of the first women in Italian politics. Mattei suggesting mimosa as an alternative to violets, which were the flower traditionally gifted to women in France for International Women’s Day. Despite its delicate, fluffy appearance, mimosa is very resistant and blooms even in the harshest of conditions; it is a symbol of strength. The gifting of mimosa has since become a gesture to show gratitude to and solidarity with women.

Mimosa Flowers

The saffron in this dish represents the bright sunshine of mimosa flowers, and the courgette signifies the arrival of spring. Blue skies are coming, mimosa is blooming, and spring fruit and vegetables are in abundance. I hope you enjoy this dish if you try it, and I wish you a wonderful season ahead. 

Buon appetito a tutti!

mimosa flowers with saffron and courgette bucatini

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1/2 teaspoon of saffron strands;
  • Extra virgin olive oil;
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped;
  • 1 courgette, sliced thinly into half moons;
  • Small glass of white wine;
  • 150g bucatini (or you could use spaghetti or linguine);
  • Unsalted butter;
  • Parmigiano Reggiano 


  • Add the saffron to almost boiling water and leave to dissolve (for at least 1 hour). 
  • Heat a pan on medium high heat and bring the water for your pasta to the boil. 
  • Add the extra virgin olive oil to the pan and sauté the shallot, then add the courgette.
  • Once the courgette has softened and browned slightly on both sides, season with salt and pepper and add the wine, simmering until it evaporates.
  • Cook the pasta, then add to the courgette with a splash of the pasta water and a knob of butter to emulsify a sauce. 
  • Add the saffron water and mix well so that all the pasta turns golden yellow. 
  • Serve with lots of parmesan and enjoy.
    Buon appetito!

Ossobuco alla Milanese

Here’s last month’s recipe!

Natalia Bell

Contributing Food Editor

Natalia is a lawyer who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking for and enjoying food with the people she loves, and travelling. She has a particular interest in Italian cuisine and culture, having been fortunate enough to travel there every year whilst growing up. She speaks Italian, but is continually trying to improve her skills to a fully proficient level. She would love to live in Italy one day - but, in the meantime, she posts about food and Italy on her Instagram @buonappetitotutti

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