Never heard of pattypan squash? Well, we’re obsessed with the spaceship-shaped summer produce. It has a more pronounced flavor than yellow squash, making it the perfect candidate to be loaded with rich tomato sauce and tons of cheese before hitting the broiler in this golden Parm dish from Mr. Donahue’s in NYC.
Baby pattypans come in many sizes. If you can find only medium or large pattypan squash, that’s fine. Just cut them into one-inch pieces. Be wary that they will have more moisture, so you may have to cook them in batches to get a golden color.
To learn more, read “The Diner Things in Life.”
Recipe adapted from Ann Redding and Matt Danzer, Mr. Donahue’s, New York, NY
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes, plus cooling time
For the Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 basil sprig
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt, to taste
For the Parmesan Crisps:
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
For the Pattypan Parm:
¼ cup olive oil
2 pounds baby pattypan squash, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup Parmesan, grated
½ cup mozzarella balls
Parmesan crisps, for garnish
Torn basil leaves, for garnish
1. Make the tomato sauce: In a medium sauce pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sweat for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until the paste begins to caramelize, 2 minutes. Add the remaining tomato sauce ingredients and stir to incorporate. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the Parmesan crisps: Preheat the oven to 300º. On a silpat-lined baking sheet, spread the grated Parmesan into a very thin layer. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, then break into shards and set aside.
3. Make the pattypan parm: Preheat the broiler to high. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the squash and sear until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, then top the squash with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and scatter with mozzarella balls. Place the skillet under the broiler and cook until the top is golden brown, 6 minutes. Garnish with the reserved Parmesan crisps and fresh basil, then serve.