Patty Pan Squash - stuffed and baked
Types of Squash
We grow lots of squash in my neck of the woods, and many Southern food dishes contain squash as a main ingredient. These include all types of squash – both summer squash and winter squash varieties. We’ve grown several varieties of winter squash, including acorn, butternut, banana, ambercup, spaghetti, dumpling, and Hubbard. In our summer gardens, we’ve grown summer squashes that included crookneck, straighneck, cousa, and zucchini. One variety with which you might not be so familiar is the pattypan. Patty pan squash is a variety of summer squash with scalloped edges, so it’s sometimes referred to as scalloped squash. It’s a beautiful vegetable and is available in pale green or gold. The taste is very similar to that of yellow squash, and like other varieties of summer squash, the skin and seeds are edible. The great thing about the patty pan is that it can be stuffed and served whole, in its own attractive “serving dish.” The grandkids think that’s super cool, so they’re much more likely to eat it. Below is a wonderful patty pan squash recipe that we really like.
How To Make Squash
If you’re wondering about how to make squash, try baking it in the oven. That’s probably the easiest way to cook the vegetable. Besides, you can alter the ingredients using your own favorite flavors. For stuffed squash recipes, you’ll want to use fairly large fruits. You’ll need to boil, steam, or microwave the squash until they’re just fork tender. When they’re cool enough to handle, scoop out the innards from the squash and place them in a bowl. If the pulp and seeds are very watery, you can wick away some of the liquid with paper towels, or you can drain the pulp in a sieve. If the seeds are extra large, they might be tough. In that case, you’ll probably want to remove the seeds before baking. Also, if the pulp is stringy, you’ll need to chop or cut through the strings.
Once you have your pulp ready, add an ingredient or two that contains fat. This can be butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, grated parmesan, cheddar cheese, or mozzarella cheese. You’ll need to add some type of breading, too. Try stale cubes of bread, cracker crumbs, dried bread crumbs, cornbread, croutons, or boxed stuffing mix. You might also want to add some seasonings, like diced onion, garlic, black pepper, and/or some herbs. For a heartier stuffed squash recipe, add diced, cooked bacon or cooked and crumbled sausage. Once the stuffing is made, fill each squash with it. If you like, top the stuffed squash with grated cheese or bread crumbs.
The squash is now ready to be baked in the oven. 350 degrees usually works well. How long the squash will need to bake depends on how large the fruits are. If they’re on the smallish side, check them after fifteen minutes in the oven. Medium sized and larger fruits will probably take longer to cook.
Patty Pan Squash Recipes
You really don’t need special patty pan squash recipes. Their flavor and texture is very similar to other summer squashes, and they can be prepared in much the same way. You can slice the squash, dip it in eggs and flour, and fry it in hot oil. You can also sauté the slices in bacon grease, with onions and garlic. Sometimes we slice or “plank” the fruits, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle on some seasonings, and grill them on a charcoal grill. You can just trim the ends and boil or steam the fruits until they’re tender and then serve them with some butter, garlic salt, and parmesan cheese. If you like squash casserole, try substituting some patty pan squash for the squash that you usually use.
One of my favorite patty pan squash recipes is for fritters. I grate the fruits and combine them with onion, garlic, diced red bell pepper, milk, flour, cornmeal, egg, and seasonings to make a thick batter. I then fry them like I'd fry pancakes, in hot oil.
You can also enjoy summer squash varieties raw. I sometimes like them sliced thinly and added to tossed green salads. I also like to slice or chop some young, tender summer squash and combine it with fresh cucumbers, Vidalia onions, and tomatoes. I then make a dressing with oil, vinegar, and fresh herbs for tossing the mixed veggies. This makes a healthy, tasty dish that’s attractive because it’s so bright and colorful.
Stuffed Squash Recipe
For this stuffed squash recipe, I really prefer using patty pan, but yellow squash and zucchini work just as well. We no longer have our own big vegetable garden, and scalloped squash can be hard to find in the supermarkets. The reason I like using patty pans for this recipe isn’t because it tastes better. It’s because I find the completed dish to be very visually appealing. Feel free to make substitutions. The results will be just as tasty!
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- 4 patty pan squash, about 4" across
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup grated onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- salt and pepper, to taste
- grated cheddar for topping
- Wash the squash and remove a thin slice from the bottom to make it flat. Boil squash for about 10 minutes until just tender. Remove squash and carefully scrape out pulp and seeds.
- Place pulp and seeds in a bowl and mix with melted butter, mayonnaise, cracker crumbs, egg, onion, parmesan, garlic, and salt and pepper.
- Place the whole squash in a baking dish and fill with the stuffing mixture. Top with grated cheese and some cracker crumbs. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
- This is a delicious, attractive dish to serve for company. If you want to save time, you can boil the squash beforehand and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready for stuffing and baking.