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
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.