I had an email from my friend/food guru Jill the other week, asking me about what I'd done with the pattypan squash in that week's veg delivery box. It was about 3 days after the box had been delivered, and sad to say I hadn't even clocked that vegetable yet. Carrots (check), beetroot (check), courgette (check), mystery yellowy squashy thing (hmm, check on it).
The squash is small and doesn't look like it would have much flesh within (which, it turns out, it doesn't). Jill had searched high and low for recipes and recommendations, and concluded that what seemed to be the done thing with the pattypan is to cut it open and fill it with something rather more delicious. So off Jill went with her chorizo and white beans, off I went with sausages and roman beans, and we both cooked our pattypans and relayed each other the results.
We independently discovered some of the same universal truths:
- Sausages in any form are wonderful, and sauteeing them with other good things make them even better.
- A pattypan squash doesn't taste of much, but it does give off an awful lot of water. Fairly tasteless water.
- The pattypan is nice to look at, but remains a curiosity in how it's survived as food for so long given it's pretty short short comings.
- Pattypan is a great word. The most fun I had in cooking and eating the squash was in trying to use the word in sentences ("Don't pattypan-ic, I know what I'm doing", "Well darn this pattypanning thing, it's just not cooking", etc). The makers of Sponge Bob Square Pants agree with me on this point.
Our adventures with with pattypan are done for now, and I'm not sad to see it go. Mr A&N loved the filling (naturally, it contained sausages) but thought the squash was as pointless as a pair of high heels on a camel. I feel bad harboring ill will against my food and so didn't take as hard a stance on the pattypan as he did, but I'm not about to start a clandestine affair with it either. If you, too, get landed with a pattypan squash, just keep Douglas Adams in mind: don't pattypan-ic, it will be fine.
Sausage and Sage Stuffed Squash
makes enough for 2-3 people as a main, though you should have a side dish too
- 4 - 6 pattypan squashes, depending on size
- olive oil to cook (a tablespoon or two)
- 1 onion, well chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, sliced thinly
- handful of fresh sage, roughly chopped
- 400g / 1lb of sausages (cumberland, simple pork, or something similar)
- 1 tin of romanesco or white beans, drained
- Parmesean cheese for topping (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 200C / 450 F
- Cut off the tops of the pattypan squash so that you have about 1/4 of the squash as the lid, 3/4 as the bottom
- Place the squash bottoms and top in the oven once it's heated, and cook for about 10 minutes
- Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil. Once that's warm, add the onions, garlic and celery to sautee, and cook for a couple of minutes until the onions are softened (make sure you stir every so often).
- Add in the sage and give it all a good stir.
- Add in the sausages, keeping them whole for now. Cook until the sausages are mostly done, then cut them up into bite-sized pieces.
- Throw in the tin of beans, give it all a good stir and let it cook for a further minute or two
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Take the squashes out of the oven, and stuff them full off the sausage mix. Top with parmesean if you want to, and put the filled squashes back in the oven for a further 10 minutes or until a fork inserted into the flesh goes in and out easily.
- Serve with some vegetables and something like a potato gratin or hash browns on the side.