Fresh This Week: Pattypan Squash, A Delicious Little UFO

Argus offers several summer squashes, but perhaps the “weirdest,” and probably the cutest, is the pattypan squash, also known as a scallop squash, the “flying saucer,” or even a sunburst, granny, custard marrow, or button squash. No matter what you call it, this colorful ridged veggie makes a healthy, seasonal addition to your meals. Right now we offer patty pans from Kuntry Gardens, Tantre Farm, and Uriel's Splendor, with more on their way.

Summer squash originated from the region between Mexico and Guatemala, and is related to other squash, along with cucumber and melon. Like its relatives it grows fast and abundant, and home gardeners may find themselves overwhelmed by the bounty. The name “pattypan” comes from the French word pâtisson, for a cake made in a scalloped mold. The shape may be unusual, but don't worry – you don't have to peel it!

When choosing a pattypan, remember that the smaller ones, between 2-3 inches in diameter, are often more tender. Be gentle with your squash, as they are more delicate than they look – but they do keep well in the fridge, unwashed and in plastic or an airtight container, for almost a week.

Pattypan squash is a versatile and healthy item to incorporate into your summer meals. The skin softens with cooking, and is actually the most nutrient-dense part. With 2.5 grams of fiber per cup, this veggie is also rich in antioxidants, including carotenoids, which support eye health. Summer squash contains pectin, along with zinc and magnesium, which evidence shows may have benefits for your blood sugar. Other benefits include B-vitamins such as folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A and C. Basically, this is your ordinary summer superfood!

This squash is a great addition to many light summer dishes, and can be easily thrown on the grill during a cookout. Simply steaming this veggie is considered the best way to retain its antioxidant benefits. You may find that it cooks like a fleshier zucchini or yellow squash, and can be used much the same way.

Looking for a simple recipe? Try a healthy saute! Bring three tablespoons of broth or water to boil in a skillet, then add sliced squash, cover the skillet, and cook on medium heat for 1.5 minutes on each side. After that, add a dash of salt and pepper and eat. Or throw the cooked squash on top of a salad, or add to a pasta dish – this is a versatile food!

Another favorite is stuffed squash – and its shape makes the pattypan especially well suited to this method. Simply cut off the stem end to make a “hat,” then cut a thin slice off the bottom of the squash, so that it sits evenly in the baking pan. Use a spoon to hollow out the body, being careful not to reach the bottom. Don't throw away the insides – these can be cooked and added to the stuffing! For this stuffing, throw oil, onion, garlic, the squash insides, and anything else you might want to add – meat, grains, other veggies, or cheese – into a skillet. For serving suggestions, see the links below! Once cooked enough to soften and combine, add this mixture back into the squashes, then cover them with foil and bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Pattypan squash stuffed with sausage and cheese
Pattypan squash stuffed with quinoa and corn

Or, try a mixture based on what we have at Argus! Tomatoes and mushrooms, spinach and feta, ground beef and onion – these are all currently available at the Farm Stop. Remember you can cook this mixture in broth, experiment with spices, and, if nothing else – top with cheese!

Try this Kale-and-Quinoa Stuffed Squash from Tasty Eats at Home! 

Summer Stuffed Patty Pans
Serves 3 as a main dish, 6 as an appetizer

6 small patty pan squash
knob of coconut oil or ghee
1 medium red onion
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
1 cup shelled green peas
2 cups chopped kale
1 cup cooked quinoa (or other whole grain)
½ cup crumbled goat or sheep feta (optional)
sea salt & pepper

1. Cut around the stem of the patty pans to create a lid. Next, scoop out the inside flesh, leaving a ½” rim around the top to hold the lid in place. Reserve the flesh and roughly chop, set aside. Rub the inside and outside of each squash with a little olive oil, coconut oil or ghee (to prevent drying out in the oven). If you cannot get the squash to sit evenly, slice off a little of the bottom to create a flat surface (be careful not to cut too deeply and create a hole in the bottom.
2. Heat a knob of coconut oil or ghee in a large skillet. Add the onion and a few pinches of salt, cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and caraway seeds, and cook for another couple minutes. Next add the peas and squash, then the kale a minute later, folding occasionally until the kale is slightly wilted. Remove from heat, stir in the cooked quinoa and crumbled feta. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Fill each patty pan with the vegetable mixture and place the individual lid on top of each squash. Arrange the patty pans in a baking dish with a little water in the bottom. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the squash is soft and cooked through.
4. Serve with any leftover filling, and a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Enjoy!

-- Post by Rose Miller