Last month, my husband's parents visited us for a few days. We decided to stop by the state farmers market in Raleigh before going to Chapel Hill for the afternoon--the farmers market is HUGE and full of fun local products like muscadine grape slushies and sweet potato syrup. Oh, and there's the produce too--lots of produce!
"They're pattypan squash! They taste like zucchini."
"What do you do with them?"
"You can stuff them..."
…and that was all I had. You can stuff them. That's pretty much the extent of my pattypan squash repertoire. Of course, there are other things you can do with pattypan squash, the rounder, squatter, UFO-looking cousin to zucchini. In fact, you can really use it in any dish where you'd use zucchini. Cut into rounds, it's perfect for grilling. You can also cut out the stem and flower ends, cut the squash in half, and then cut each half into slices. I did this with a pattypan squash I got from the garden this weekend and I sauteed the slices with long beans and corn (also from the garden!). Summer veggie saute, y'all!
So yes, you can do lots of things with pattypan squash. But it's still best for stuffing. It's the perfect shape and the perfect size. Somehow it feels like a wasted opportunity to do anything with a pattypan squash other than stuffing it. Oh sure, it was good in that saute, but it could have been stuffed!
Because the flavor of pattypan squash is so similar to zucchini, you can use just about any zucchini stuffing for pattypan squash too (perhaps Parmesan panko, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes?). This particular stuffed pattypan squash recipe has a protein-packed filling consisting of quinoa, fresh corn, and queso fresco. There's a little bit of chipotle in there too to add some smokiness and heat.
This is what you do with pattypan squash.
- cooking spray or oil mister
- 6-8 pattypan squash 6 if they're large, 8 if they're smaller
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- 1 small tomato diced
- 2 ears of corn kernels removed
- ½ c. vegetable broth
- 1 ½ c. cooked quinoa which is about ½ c. uncooked
- 1 chipotle pepper the canned kind, seeds removed and chopped + 1-2 tsp. adobo sauce from can
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¾ c. crumbled queso fresco divided
- ¼ c. coarsely chopped cilantro
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 11 baking dish with an oil mister or cooking spray.
- First, hollow out your pattypan squash. Slice off the stem end, then scoop out most of the insides. You want about a quarter-inch shell remaining. Discard as many of the seeds as you can, but reserve ½ cup of chopped squash insides. Place the pattypan squash in the baking dish.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and oregano and cook 1 minute more. Add reserved squash insides, tomato, and corn and saute for 3 minutes, then stir in broth, quinoa, chipotle pepper, and adobo sauce (1 teaspoon for a milder filling, 2 teaspoons or more if you want it spicier). Continue to cook on medium-high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup of queso fresco and salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide filling into pattypan squash. Pour ¼ cup of water into bottom of baking dish, then cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Top with cilantro and remaining queso fresco before serving.