I wanted to make something like this as soon as I saw the patty pan squash in our CSA basket in Week Three. But the temperatures were killer. I did not want to have the oven on for any length of time. On Friday I had a stroke of brilliance and realized I could get the squash totally cooked without turning on the oven at all. Enter the slow cooker.
By cooking the squash to tender perfection in the slow cooker and then throwing it under the broiler for less than ten minutes to heat everything up to temperature and brown the top, I avoided having the oven on for forty five minutes or more. It made a huge difference given the heat wave we’ve been having in Cleveland, all the more so because we do not have central air.
As I mentioned in my last CSA post, Zak is not a huge fan of patty pan squash. I get his objection – it’s not a super flavorful squash, though it’s shape is cute and texture is creamy. Here, it works great as a vessel for a cheesy barley and herb mixture. The soft insides add an extra layer of “creaminess” to the barley. There was a nice mix of textures and flavors from the tender squash, smooth ricotta, acidic tomatoes, fresh basil, and toothsome barley. I would definitely make a variation on this again the next time we receive patty pan in our CSA basket.
Ricotta Barley Stuffed Patty Pan Squash
2 patty pan squash
1/2 cup barley, cooked according to package instructions
1/3 cup ricotta
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Stab squash a few times with a fork. Place squash in a slow cooker with about 1/4 cup water. Cover and set on low. Cook on low 4-5 hours until tender. Remove from slow cooker and let cool until cool enough to handle. Once cool enough, cut 1/4″ off top, near stem. Use a spoon to remove seeds and create a “bowl” for the barley mixture. Season inside of squash liberally with salt and pepper.
Mix together barley, ricotta, Parmesan, tomatoes, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place patty pan on a sheet tray and place under broiler for 8-10 minutes until heated through and top is lightly browned.