Hi. I’m JoAnna, and I am a zucchini snob. Before I became a zucchini snob, I wouldn’t touch the stuff. I’d had too many mass-served meals with sides of slimy squash, grown and cooked without love. The thought of eating squash made me squirmy. But then, I tried a Costata Romanesca zucchini and my life was changed. This Italian heirloom variety has amazing flavor (variously described online as “the best flavor,” and “favored for flavor”) and a delightful, never slimy texture. You can recognize it from the light ridges and pockmarks on the dark green skin. The leaves of the plant are also enormous, which is totally fun.
If you’ve never seen this sort of zucchini around, it might be because the yields on the plant are significantly lower than more modern varieties, making the variety less profitable. Personally, I’ll trade quality for quantity any day. My favorite way to eat this zucchini is in spaghetti sauce. Just slice the zucchini into rounds about 3/4 inch thick and quarter the slices so you have little chunks. Saute in olive oil with a little salt, garlic and maybe red pepper flakes, until soft. Toss into your sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Eat over pasta and be happy!
What’s that? On the market table? A UFO? A pumpkin? What???
It’s a Patty Pan squash! Scallop squash or Patty Pans are a summer squash variety with a mild taste and a delightfully smooth texture. They were developed by Native Americans and have been grown since before Columbus. The squash is described in European literature as far back as 1591 and accounts of it can be found in American texts throughout the 1700s!
We are growing a white heirloom variety and have been so excited to meet people who have fond memories of this squash from childhood. About half the folks who see our Patty Pans have no idea what they are and ask us about them (never be afraid to ask a farmer “what is that? How do you cook it? How does it grow?” We love to answer those questions!). However, everyone who recognizes the squash smiles immediately.
Experienced Patty Pan lovers seem to all agree that sautéing the squash in butter is the best way to enjoy it. We’ve roasted some in the oven, and I know folks grill them as well. The shape is also perfect for stuffing! The skin is thin and edible.
This is my first year growing these little UFOs and I am totally smitten with them. They are so fun to pick and even more fun to display at the market. I hope you enjoy them too!