Monday, June 7, 2010

Patty Pan Squash Stuffed with Basil Orzo

Just when I was becoming confident in my knowledge of squash varieties I came across a new one at Lexington Farmer’s Market a couple weeks ago.

My Dad has grown varieties of yellow squash and zucchini in his garden my whole life, but I’ve never come across Patty Pan Squash. It is also sometimes called Scalloped Squash for obvious reasons. Have you seen it or cooked with it before?

Just look at that interesting little shape. It is as if the little squash decided that it really didn’t want to grow long and decided to grow wide instead. You know, just to be different.

Well, in my opinion, different is good, and while Patty Pan has a similar flavor and texture to its longer counterparts it adds a lot more fun to cooking.

I spent several days trying to figure out what I was going to stuff into these little bowl-like vegetables. I kept going back and forth between rice, bulgur and orzo, finally settling on orzo. With all the fresh basil in our herb garden at the moment, I thought an Italian twist was the way to go.

At first I was much more interested in the shape than the actual squash, but that quickly changed as I began creating this dish. Patty Pan are easy to roast up. If you trim the stem and flip them over you can simply remove the top, clean out the seeds and stuff them with all sorts of ingredients. These squash can also be sliced and steamed or sautéed with a little olive oil or butter.

The yellow Patty Pan that I used had a sweet, fresh flavor. They seemed even sweeter to me than standard yellow straight or crooked-neck summer squash. The basil and cheese combination with its slight saltiness paired perfectly with the tender, sweet flesh of the squash.

Patty Pan Squash Stuffed with Basil Orzo

2 Patty Pan squash
Olive oil
1 cup orzo, cooked and cooled
2 tbsp whole milk ricotta cheese
2 tbsp Romano cheese, grated
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
¼ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Trim the stem off the squash to create a flat surface. Coat them in olive oil and place them stem side down in a baking dish. The bake time will vary greatly depending on the size of the Patty Pan. I had two, one smaller than the other. The smaller cooked in 30 minutes and the larger took 40 minutes. Insert a fork in the flesh to ensure that it is tender and remove from the oven. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

In a bowl mix together the orzo, cheeses, basil, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Using a small paring knife carefully cut the top off of each squash. Gently scrape out some of the seeds using a spoon to create a bowl to hold your filling. Scoop half of the filling into each squash. Return to the oven and bake 5 to 7 minutes longer until everything is heated through. Makes 2 side dish servings.

This recipe is being submitted to Side Dish Showdown at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice.


5 Star Foodie said...

How creative to serve basil orzo in those little cute patty pan squashes! Very cool!

Maria said...

What a fun summer meal!

cathy said...

Your version of patty pan squash looks amazing! I like to buy baby patty pan squash and saute it with onions and garlic or slice it thin and grill it.

Moon Cat said...

What a great idea! My patty pan squash are coming in now. I planted them in April. They are the white variety. Finding your blog and this recipe was very timely!

Anna said...

Hi Lori, sorry it took me so long....I had a headline and a very demanding client. Anyway...... I love those little squash they look so cute. Almost like a cupcake. Loved the basil orzo idea. And your pictures looks awesome too.Have a good week. :-)

Joanne said...

I think patty pan squash are just the cutest things, especially the super tiny ones!

The basil orzo stuffing sounds delicious...especially with the creamy ricotta.

tasteofbeirut said...

I used to buy and consume huge quantities of this patty pan squash when I lived in So California; however, I never thought of stuffing them (even though the first thing lebanese people do is stuff their veggies)
Great idea and delicious stuffing ingredients! Can't wait to give it a try!

EMily (A Nutritionist Eats) said...

Those are adorable! Sounds delicious too!

Juliana said...

Oh Lori, the stuffing in the squash sounds and look so yummie...very creative. Love the pictures as well :-)

Lori said...

5 Star and Maria - Thank you! I was so happy with how they turned out.

cathy - Thanks! I need to try it like that too. Grilled would be great!

Moon Cat - Oh that is exciting! I'd love to try out the white variety. I saw them online, but there weren't any at our market.

Anna - No need to apologize. I know you are out there. ;) Oh, cupcake squash. Now there is a cool name!

Joanne - I'm finding I just like looking at them. Mini-foods are always so appealing. Ha! :)

tasteofbeirut - Thanks! I had no idea I was being so creative. :)

Emily - I think they are so cute too!

Juliana - Thank you! They were so fun to cook with!

Cinnamon-Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cinnamon-Girl said...

I never had a patty pan before either! Their so pretty. I love how your prepared them! The filling sounds delicious. Thanks for sending it to the Showdown!

kat said...

I love patty pan squash, we get them quite a bit here in the summer & they are great roasted or on the grill too. I've never stuffed them so this is a great new idea for me

The Food Hunter said...

I'm so craving this right now. Good thing tonight is our local farmer's market night :-)

OysterCulture said...

Love patti squash - this just looks and sounds amazing! What a perfect side

Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) said...

I've only ever eaten very small patty pan squash - we always just sautee them up as is. If I ever find any big enough to stuff, I'll have to try this recipe.

Lori said...

cinnamon-girl - I'm so happy to hear you say that!! :) I thought I was the only one.

kat - I really need to try them on the grill.

Food Hunter - Great! Hope you found some.

OysterCulture - I'm now a big fan too. Thanks!

Marianne - They had a variety of sizes at our market. I might have to do with how people like to prepare them. I'm not really sure around here.

Daily Spud said...

I love patty pan squash, though it's not something I find here often if ever. I first came across it in South Africa (where squash in general seems to be pretty popular) and I just fell in love with it. My favourite way to cook it was wrapped in foil and cooked in the embers of a camp fire until completely soft - just fabulous!

Prufrock said...

Great concept, but in execution I found it to be a bit bland, so I sprinkled the patty pan shells with salt and pepper first, and mixed the orzo/cheese combo with basil pesto, and then stuffed it. This had much more flavor to me. I also found that the squash did not take long to bake in the first step--but then I'm using a convection oven; it only took about 15 min.