CSA Week Seventeen:: Pattypan Squash

1262197613_5afd020b1bPattypan squash originates from the region between Mexico and Guatemala, and is a relative of the cucumber and melon, members of the Cucurbitaceae family.

These little guys have a lot going for them.  Pattypan squash is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C and a very good source of magnesium, vitamin A (notably through its concentration of carotenoids, including beta-carotene), fiber, potassium, folate, copper, riboflavin and phosphorus. All of pattypan’s nutrients combine to form a heart healthy, disease-preventing food, not to mention extremely diet-friendly fare. One cup of cooked pattypan squash is only 38 calories.  The antioxidants in pattypan work to keep free radicals at bay while its high fiber content helps excrete toxins from the body. Pattypan also contains nutrients that combat inflammation.  Its fiber content helps reduce the risk of colon cancer and reduce dietary cholesterol.  Pattypan squash’s potassium and magnesium content work to lower blood pressure. Magnesium also reduces the risk for heart attack and stroke.


PREP TIME:

You can keep your pattypan in an airtight container in the fridge, but they keep best on the counter.

Begin by washing your pattypan under cool running water and then cutting off both ends. It’s up to you from there how you finagle the cutting of this oddly-shaped veggie.  You can avoid the whole question of how to slice patty pan squash and cook them whole. Whole patty pans can be steamed over boiling water until tender, about 4 – 6 minutes, depending on size.
You can also roast patty pans, although they cook more evenly if you slice them in half first. Place the pieces on a baking sheet and roast on the top rack for about 10 – 15 minutes at 420 degrees until tender. You can coat with olive oil or butter and season to taste before hand, if you wish.
If you want to be brave and slice your patty pans, feel free to slice them anyway you like. You can slice through the diameter, dice them into chunks or simply scoop out the cooked flesh. There’s no right or wrong. You can scoop out its insides and use the pattypan as a decorative container for other foods like a pilaf or couscous. Some people like to slice, coat and fry their pattypans until golden brown. In Polish cuisine they are pickled in sweet vinegar. Pattypan can be prepared in a variety of ways including steaming, baking, sautéing and deep-frying. Generally, anywhere you can use a zucchini, a pattypan will do.


 Corn Stuffed Pattypan Squash

2 pounds pattypan squash
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
Kernels from 2 ears corn
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
2 ounces (1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyère cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
Chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish

Cut the pattypan squash in half along the middle. Using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds in the middle and discard. Scoop out the flesh to within 1/2 inch of the outside and finely dice. Lightly salt the pattypan shells, and let sit while you prepare the filling.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a baking dish or casserole large enough to accommodate the pattypan shells.   Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about five minutes. Add the diced squash and cook, stirring, for four to five minutes until tender. Add the corn, and cook, stirring often, for four minutes until just tender. Remove from the heat, and stir in the Parmesan and the cilantro or parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fill the pattypan shells with the corn mixture, and arrange in the baking dish. Beat together the egg and milk, season with a little salt, and carefully spoon a little over the corn mixture in each filled squash. Add a small amount of water to the dish (about 1/4 inch). Cover tightly, and place in the oven. Bake 45 to 50 minutes to an hour until the squash is tender. Remove from the heat, and transfer to a platter. Serve hot or warm, garnished with additional chopped cilantro or parsley.


Pattypan Squash with Pasta

1 pound bow tie pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5-7  small or 2-4 large pattypan squash, tips and stems removed, quartered
4 links of sausage
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon grated peel
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups of chopped broccoli
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint (optional)
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the sausage until browned. Remove and set aside.  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat. Add the squash, broccoli, onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 8-10  minutes. Stir in the garlic, lemon peel and reserved pasta cooking water.  Add the pasta to the squash mixture. Add the sausage to pan. Toss in the mint, if using, and cheese; season with salt and pepper


MORE RECIPES:  Indian-Spiced Grilled Baby Squash, Pickled Pattypan Squash, Pattypan Squash Soup With Pesto, Pattypan Squash Fritters, Stuffed Pattypan Squash, Pattypan Squash Pancakes, Tuscan Pattypans

 

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