Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

In case you don't know what a patty pan is, look for a cross between a bright yellow flower-shape and a flying saucer. A patty pan is really just a weird-shaped summer squash, so treat it like a zucchini, not like a winter squash.

With all the June (and July) rains, we've got a bumper crop. The shape lends itself perfectly to being stuffed, where the patty pan becomes the vessel. But I already served the traditional risotto stuffing, or was it quinoa? Whatever, it was, sure it was yummy, but we had it only a couple weeks ago. That's the kind of thing my family only wants to eat once in a great while, so I needed to come up with something totally different to use some of these patty pans piling up on my counter. I did a google search and without even clicking into any of the results, I saw the words sausage and breadcrumbs. That was enough for me. I had a plan.

WAIT WAIT WAIT. I know what you're thinking. Heidi? Sausage? NO WAY.

But here's the thing, last year I discovered this great SOY sausage, made by Lightlife (right in Turners Falls) and have used it in a number of traditional recipes that call for sausage. As a child growing up in a conservative Jewish family, we never ate sausage so I've never tried the actual thing, but Frank, growing up Italian, sure did. He loves being able to eat these grilled with peppers and onions, sauteed or roasted. And I put it in the Thanksgiving stuffing last year (I'll definitely blog this one when the time comes), with pecans and mushrooms. It was AWESOME. My favorite is grilled soy sausage, fresh garlic and broccoli on the pizza. So, there is a time and place for fake sausage.

For this one, I used the Italian Seasoning versus the Chorizo flavored. To let you know how yummy this was, I made it in the afternoon so I could take my kids to the park. They wanted a snack before we went and they wore me down to give them two earth balls (a little chocolate ball wrapped in foil colored like the earth). The extra filling was on the counter, still in the pan. Yarrow stood there taking handfuls of the filling in one hand, nibbling on her candy in the other. I asked which she liked more, she said without hesitation, the filling.

Here's how it goes:

4 Patty Pan Squash
Olive oil
One package Lightlife Soy Sausage, Italian Seasonings
Five cloves garlic, minced
One large onion, chopped small
One cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely grated romano cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Wash the patty pans and cut off the top to use as the lid of your vessel. Scoop out seeds and some flesh to create a "bowl" for your stuffing. You can also scoop a little flesh out of the tops to make additional room for filling. Leave a good 1/2 inch of the flesh to 1) give your vessel stability and 2) to eat with the filling. Place right side up in a roasting pan or pyrex dish with a little olive oil and cover with foil. Roast for 30-40 minutes. Let cool while you make your filling.

For filling:
Saute onion, garlic, soy sausage, salt and pepper to taste in olive oil until the soy sausage is nicely browning. Remove from heat. Let sit 10 minutes or so, then stir in breadcrumbs and cheese. Taste, check seasonings.

Spoon filling into squashes piling them slightly higher than each squash. Then put the lid on. Put them back in the pan you roasted them in. Add a 1/2 cup water to the bottom. Cover with foil again. Put them back in the oven for 45 minutes. Voila.

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