Perfect Pattypans


Hey ESers, did you miss me? I missed you!  I’m afraid I’ve been gallivanting about for about a month and I have severely neglected ES in the meantime (and cooking in general).  I’ve been back for a week, and I must admit that my brain is a bit rusty and my cooking thus far has been less than inspired.  Does that ever happen to you all after a long time away from your kitchen?

I mean I was missing my kitchen the entire time I was gone, but my cooking muses seem to have expired during my brief journey, leaving me with only enough energy to cook a few stir-fries and throw together some salads.  Ugh….  Cookers’ block.

However, lucky readers, before I left for travels, I was struck by no such affliction.  In fact, just before I left I hosted a dinner party for which I pulled out all the stops. With my favorite summer ingredient at the ready  I made my most delicious  and complex pattypan dish yet:  Chickpea and Pesto Stuffed Pattypans:

stuffed pattypan with chickpeas topped with pesto

There they were, fresh from the Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market: seven large gleaming yellow pattypans.

seven giant pattypans

I’d made a delicious, vat of vegan lactose-free pesto earlier.  For the pesto I threw the following into a food processor and gave it a few pulses:

a half pound of arugula, two cups of cilantro, a handful of basil from my garden, a half cup of lemon juice, two cap fulls of olive oil, eight cloves of raw garlic, about three tablespoons of plain nonfat yogurt for extra creaminess (you can easily sub plain soy yogurt for this ingredient if you’re a damned hippy – I mean a vegan), an 8-ounce bag of almonds, a liberal amount of salt, and one half of a seeded poblano pepper (these are very mild peppers when you come right down to it, and perfect for giving a smidge of heat to a pesto)

It was a truly delicious, salty, bitey pesto.  I’d used it on a pasta earlier in the week and had Gansie try it out.  She’d shrieked, “Maids, oh my fucking god!  This is delicious.”  It was very gratifying, since I’d followed her advice and used the arugula as the base of the pesto.

scooped pattypans

I cut the tops off of each pattypan (see picture above) and saved the tops for roasting later on.  I also scooped a little more of the pulp out to  allow for space for the chickpeas later on.  I conserved these scoopings because I thought they’d add a little extra thickness to the chickpeas I was about to sautee.   I brushed the scooped pattypans and the pattypan tops with a bit of salted olive oil and popped them in the oven, which I’d heated to 285. I let them sit in there for about 15 minutes while I sauteed the chickpeas.

sauteed chickpeas

I took 2 lbs of canned chickpeas and drained and rinsed them thoroughly.  Then I chopped up a red onion, a cup of cilantro and the conserved pattypan squash scoopings and tossed them into a frying pan with a little olive oil.  I let those caramelize lightly for about 5 minutes and then I added the 2 lbs of chickpeas to the pan and satueed on high heat for about 10 minutes, until the chickpeas had browned slightly and the red onion had softened.  I then fully coated the chickpea sautee with the arugula/basil/cilantro pesto.  I used just enough of the pesto to coat the chickpeas; I didn’t want them swimming in the pesto.

pesto and chickpea stuffed pattypans

I removed the pattypans from the oven and turned the oven heat up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  I filled the pattypan cups with the chickpea pesto mixture and sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top of all of the pattypans expect one (mine 🙁 ).  This one I sprinkled with a little extra salt.

When the oven was heated I put the stuffed pattypans back in the oven and let them cook for another 20 minutes.

topped with basil leaves

When the pattypan skin was tender and slightly wrinkled, I removed the pattypans from the oven and placed fresh basil leaves on top of each pattypan (our garden is overflowing with basil…. I am the proud mama of a veritable basil tree!)

pattypan tops

While the pattypans were in the oven I cooked the pattypan tops in a frying pan with garlic and salt until they were tender. Before serving, I placed the tops on the stuffed pattypans.  Each dinner guest had a stuffed pattypan to her/himself.  It was a substantial and delicious main feature to the dinner, well accompanied by salad and summery white wine.

chickpea stuffed pattypans, hats on

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  • Liza August 3, 2009  

    I am in a cookers block too – this is AMAZING!! and will SAVE ME! I will def be picking up some pattypans from the farmers market this saturday – I get scared picking out stuff there if I don’t have a recipe – this looks so good! I’m pretty pumped to make the pesto to to jsut have around for things. WELCOME BACK MAIDS!

  • LC August 3, 2009  

    You had me at pesto but the whole thing looks delicious. A question on consistency: can you just cut the finished pattypan with a fork/butter knife or do you need something more substantial? Never having had them I’m wondering if they are somewhat mushy or pretty firm.This may be a dumb question but I’m wondering what other things one could put in the pattypan.

  • Maids August 3, 2009  

    @LC, a butter knife and fork are fine. They are pretty much the consistency of other summer squashes like zucchini and such – far more tender than winter squash.

  • espressodog August 3, 2009  

    I was tricked into reading this DCist post because i thought it was going to be about y’all. Pseudo-simmer-shout-out.

  • OMGYeahYouKnowMe August 4, 2009  

    a crowning achievement! How big were these pattypans. the ones i see at the farmer’s market look only big enough to stuff with three chickpeas, tops.

  • Liza August 6, 2009  

    So I made the pesto sauce and it is so freaking good that I’ve just been putting it on a pita and eating it!

  • Maids August 6, 2009  

    @OMG – the pattypans I got from the farmer’s market were about the size of an average adult hand in diameter. Sounds like you have smaller pattypans.
    @Liza – glad you’re enjoying 🙂 you can blame gansie too…

  • NeeNee August 6, 2009  

    Maids: Do you have a sous chef? How long does it take you to make your recipes? I’m a slow cook, so I think this might take me all night to make this after work…or a Saturday afternoon.

  • Maids August 6, 2009  

    @NeeNee – I think it took about an hour and a half the night I made the pattypans (but I had made the pesto earlier… The pesto takes about 15 minutes more).
    it’s not soooo complicated. But I do have a spare sous chef or two on hand quite often!

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