In Season Now: Pattypan Squash

Pattypan squash are my number one favorite vegetable at the farm this summer. Mostly I love them because they’re so darn cute. With their scalloped edges and vivid colors, pattypan squash look like flying-saucer shaped candy

These adorable little squash are also delicious. So, the next time you’re at the farmers market, ignore the commonplace yellow summer squash and zucchini and try some pattypans instead.

Cook them simply by sauteing them in butter or oil with some garlic, salt, and pepper, or keep reading to try my pattypan squash recipe: Lemon Pattypan Pasta with Goat Cheese and Basil.

When choosing pattypans, look for smaller specimens that are less than 3 inches across. Any larger and the exterior skin becomes tough. I like the super-tiny ones that are about an inch across.

You can prepare pattypan squash whole if they’re small and tender enough. Cut larger squash into halves or quarters for bite-sized pieces.

Use pattypans in any recipe that normally calls for yellow summer squash or zucchini. Or try the pasta recipe below.

Lemon Pattypan Pasta with Goat Cheese and Basil

SERVES 6

  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 pound pattypan squash, left whole if less than an inch in diameter or cut into bite-sized pieces if larger
  • 12 basil leaves, julienned
  • Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup of soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 pound of fusilli pasta
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously.

2. When the water is close to boiling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add the pattypans, stirring occasionally.

3. As the pattypans cook, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions.

4. Once the pattypans are crisp-tender (5-10 minutes), add the lemon juice, basil leaves, salt, and pepper and remove from heat.

5. When the pasta is done, drain it. Toss the pattypans with the pasta and goat cheese. Serve hot.

Like this recipe? You might also enjoy this Late Spring Panzanella.

Image courtesy of pcarpen via a Creative Commons license.

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About the Author

I'm an ecologist turned journalist turned farmer-in-training. I'm currently working on an organic farm and creamery in Illinois. Follow me on twitter (http://twitter.com/rachelshulman), friend me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=3105709), or follow me on StumbleUpon (http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/RachelShulman/).