Farmers market pick: savory stuffed patty pan squash

Do you like farmer’s markets? I love farmers markets. Within 20 miles of my home there are 8, yes 8, farmers markets going on during the week. Very nice for our little ‘burg. Some are relatively small and simple and some are bigger with a festival atmosphere and extras like craft vendors, live music and food trucks. I love them so much that dear Hubby has put my wallet on ‘farmers market lock-down’ and I now stick to a budget of less than $15. Well, unless we’re having a meal there or we’re having guests and I’m cooking.

The farmers market is made for browsers like me. I tend to walk around a lot before I make any purchases and this can drive those who are not browsers (like Hubby) crazy. He’s not a browser, but a git-r-done type person. It can also unnerve some of the farmers and vendors, I realized recently. I see them look at me as I pass by their stall for the third or fourth time and I can tell they are thinking, “You again…what are you up to? Just go ahead and buy something already!”

To each their own, but I like “look’ in” as my Daddy would say. It’s relaxing to me and with the variety of colors, textures and smells, my creative juices begin to flow. I am formulating a plan in my noggin. What looks great? What may be out of season and NOT available soon? What is reasonably priced? How can I combine this vegetable with some other ingredient I have a hankering to cook this weekend? Hum. At this point Hubby has taken our girl over to get lemonade or an Italian ice and left me to decide my final purchases. Smart, smart Hubby.

Thus, I come home with a bunch of patty pan squash, among other things. Over the last several weeks I had seen them at every farmers market. They are so cute with bright yellow scalloped bases splashed with dark green splotches – they can even sport hats! “They’d make the perfect vessel for something delicious”, I thought.

As it so happens, I also stopped that day by a favorite vendor, Mibek Farms, and discovered garlic sausages for sale. My brain clicked into high gear and after one mediocre attempt, the Savory Stuffed Patty Pan Squash recipe was given the thumbs up by Hubby (and me). This recipe uses a combination of fresh herbs I had available, but feel free to try your own preferred mixture and if you can’t find garlic sausage use your favorite fresh, uncured sausage.

See you at the farmers market!

Use a sharp knife to remove the top at an angle. Trim excess pulp and remove any large seeds.

Scoop pulp out of the squash. I use the knife to neatly loosen it all the way around and a spoon to remove the center. It should pop out, but don’t break through to the bottom.

Chop the pulp. Again, remove any excessively large seeds.

Brown the sausage and then drain on paper towels. You’ll use this saute pan to…

…saute the onions. No need to use a clean pan. Try to scrape up any leftover sausage bits.

Meanwhile, par boil the patty pan squash. If you have big ones, drop the bottoms in first and allow to cook about 2 minutes, then drop in the tops and remove all after another minute. The small patty squash should par boil about 1 minute for the bottoms plus 30 seconds or so for the tops.

Drain the squash in a colander. I pour some ice and water over them to stop the cooking process.

Add the cooked rice, drained sausage, herbs, chopped squash pulp and a few cracks of pepper to the sauteed onions.

Stir in the tomato paste and chopped tomato until just mixed.

Place half the filling mixture in the baking dish and place the patty pan bottoms on top. Sprinkle some salt inside the squash bottoms and spoon in the filling.

Place the tops on the squash and cover the baking dish with foil (or a cover if you have one). Out of the oven in about 45 minutes.

Savory Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

  • 4-5 large or 8-10 small patty pan squash, cleaned with pulp scooped out and chopped (save tops)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 ¼ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sweet onion, small chop
  • 2-3 links garlic sausage (or your favorite fresh sausage, not breakfast sausage) casings removed
  • ½ tsp. + extra salt
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tsp. herbs de Provence
  • ½ tsp. powdered thyme
  • 1 tbl. grape oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbl. tomato paste
  • 1 small tomato, small chop
  • Fresh ground pepper

Cook the rice in the vegetable stock and olive oil. Heat the grape oil in a large sauté pan and brown the sausage and drain on paper towels. Do not clean the pan but sauté the onions in the pan for about 3-4 minutes, scraping up the bits stuck in the pan. Remove form heat and set aside.

In a large pot heat water and add a few dashes of salt. When near boiling drop squash bottoms in salted water and allow to par boil about 2 minutes for the large patty pan and 1 minute for the small size. Add the tops and cook all another 1 minute. Drain all the squash in a colander and cool with water and/or ice to stop any further cooking.

Add the sausage, rice, and herbs to the onions and stir. Stir in the tomato paste, shopped tomato and a few cracks of fresh pepper and salt to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9 x 13 oven-proof baking dish spread about half the filling. Place the patty pan bottoms on the filling and lightly sprinkle the interiors with salt. Spoon filling into each patty and place tops on each squash. Cover the baking dish with a cover or foil and bake for about 35 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove foil and bake another 5-10 minutes.