Monday, November 15, 2010

What is that? And what am I meant to do with it: Patty Pan Squash

Ahh it is fall, the wonderful time when the air starts to get crisp and the days start to grow colder.  It is also that time of the year that funny things begin to show up at your grocery store.  You know what I mean, that huge display of those odd looking gourds and squashes.  You know for years I only knew them as decoration, I never really thought about people eating them.  One day at the farmers market I came upon these very odd flower looking squashes that I discovered were called Patty Pan.  Feeling adventurous I decided to buy them and come up with how I was going to prepare them later.  I found out that my mother-in-law was stuffing the squashes with a mince meat filling and was very happy with how that was turning out so i decided to try it myself.  Although keeping with my desire to keep things in my budget I decided to figure out what I had on hand in the pantry.
One of my new favorite beans are small navy beans.  They so flavorful and meaty that I often use them as a meat substitute.  So I decided for them to be my main ingredient in my stuffing recipe.  So with that knowledge I began to scour the internet for help.  Being that this was my first attempt at a stuffed squash I knew that I would need help.  I found that help from a wonderful newly discovered blog Fat Free Vegan.  While I am not a vegan I have found this blog to be filled with wonderful ideas that even a meat lover would enjoy.  I altered her recipe slightly to fit our taste and it turned out gorgeous.  Definitely a keeper.

Patty Pan Squash Stuffed with Small Navy Beans

4 medium-sized patty pan squash
1 small onion, chopped fine
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped fine
1/2 red pepper, chopped fine
1/2 bell pepper, chopped fine
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1 can (15 ounces) small navy beans (or other white beans), rinsed and drained


Place the squash flat side down in a large pot. Add about 1 inch of water, cover, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 8 minutes, until a fork easily pierces the top of the squash. Remove from the pot and set aside to cool.


When the squashes are cool enough to handle, slice off the top and gently scoop out the flesh from the inside. Be sure to leave a wall of flesh at least 1/4-inch on all sides. Turn them upside down and allow them to dry out while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Take the scooped out insides and dice them up to add to the sauteed stuffing mixture.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Saute the onions and peppers in a large, non-stick skillet for about 5 minutes until soft; add garlic, diced squash, and seasonings and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the white beans and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. 


Place the squash in an 8x8-inch baking pan. Spoon the stuffing into each shell; be sure to really pack it into the shell, and don't be afraid to over-stuff them. Pile any stuffing that remains into the center of the baking pan, right between the squash.


Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops begin to brown. Serve with additional stuffing. And enjoy each meaty bite.

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