easy gourmet cooking: stuffed pattypan squash
Always be careful what you ask for. When I recently relocated to Westview, I hoped that I'd be able to find a nearby community garden or small-scale farmer to get fresh produce from. I had no idea my request would be so thoroughly fulfilled.
The beau's job hosts a weekly farmer's market throughout summer, where local farmers and community gardeners bring out their wares to sell. Since he helps out with setting up their stands and assisting customers carry their purchases to their cars, the grateful farmers give him some of their excess to take home. Which means that, at least once a week, I get a nice delivery of local fruits and veggies right into my kitchen.
This also means that I am positively swimming in summer produce. Melons, tomatoes, okra, peaches, nectarines, corn, red potatoes, onions, and cabbages come in the door faster than I can think of ways to uniquely prepare them. So I've had to scramble around the interwebs in search of recipes to provide additional inspiration. One of the bumper crops that I've enjoyed finding new ways to prepare is squash. In addition to the standard crookneck yellow squash and zucchini that I'm used to working with, I got a delivery of pattypan squash. I'd never laid eyes on one in real life before, and was so struck with the elegant scalloped edges and blanched-white skin that I had to find a recipe worthy of the ingredient.
Fresh local ingredients call for a fresh local recipe, so I was pleased when I saw a recipe for Farm-Stand Stuffed Zucchini Squash over at Running With Tweezers. A couple of quick modifications based on the ingredients I had on hand, and... voila! A recipe that was fit for a pattypan squash.
Stuffed PattyPan Squash
- 2 pattypan squash
- 1-2 fresh Italian sausage (I use turkey sausage, with removable casing)
- 1 cup couscous (I prefer whole wheat)
- 1/2 bell pepper (red, green, or yellow)
- 1 small onion (red or white)
- grated Parmesan cheese
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- minced garlic
- fresh or dried herbs: thyme, rosemary, marjoram
- 1-3/4 cup chicken broth or bouillon
Preparing the Squash: Preheat oven to 375. With a small knife (serrated works best), cut a circle around the top of the squash. As you cut, angle your knife diagonally from the outer edge of the squash towards the center. Remove the top of the squash and set aside - this will serve as your lid. Hollow out the insides of the squash with a small spoon, being careful not to pierce through the squash. Set the removed squash aside. Drizzle the inside of the squash and the bottoms of the lids with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then set on a baking sheet or pan in the oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes, then set aside to cool.
For the Couscous: In a small pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
For the Sausage and Veggies: Chop the bell pepper and onion and add to the squash flesh you removed earlier. Add a little olive oil to a large skillet and heat on medium-high. Remove the sausage from casing, and add in small pieces to the heated skillet. Cook and crumble the sausage until brown. Add the garlic, onion, and pepper to the skillet and sautee for 4-5 minutes, or until onion is slightly translucent. Add herbs to taste, then add squash and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add couscous to skillet and stir to combine with other ingredients. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over everything and stir to incorporate.
Stuff each squash with the couscous mixture, and sprinkle a little more Parm on top. Place the stuffed squash back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.