Real food, gluten-free meals, and eclectic music!
Our good-gardener, neighbor Mike brought us some beautiful pattypan squash from his garden, and also a package of heirloom tomatoes that he had sun-dried and put up from another year’s bounty. I’m so glad I live near a generous person with a green thumb! Mike suggested cooking the squash in a tomato sauce with some cheese, in the style of Eggplant Parmesan. I took his advice and came up with this squash casserole.
This recipe is very adaptable. I added sausage, since I had some that needed cooking, but this would work fine as a vegetarian recipe without the sausage.
Instead of pattypan squash, you could likely use any summer squash.
Pattypan squash are the scallop-edged summer squash that look like flying saucers. These are the white variety, but they also may be green or yellow. Despite their odd shape, they are easy to slice up and cook, like the other varieties of summer squash.
In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the sausage (if using); cook while breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon until browned. Pour off the excess fat from the pan. Add crushed tomatoes, herbs, and red pepper flakes. Allow to simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the stem ends from the squash, and slice in half (from stem end to bud). Place sliced side down, then cut into ~3/8-inch slices.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil a baking dish, then spread a scant layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of the dish. Make one layer of sliced squash across the dish, using 1/2 of the squash slices. Distribute the julienned sun-dried tomato on top of the squash layer. Chop up the mozzarella cheese, and add 1/2 of the cheese. Top the cheese with the remaining slices of squash. Add the remaining tomato sauce, spreading it evenly across the squash. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 60-70 minutes. Uncover and check for doneness – it is done when the squash is tender and the sauce is bubbly. If needed, cook for ~ 10 additional minutes to reduce liquid and/or brown the cheese topping.
One of our favorite musicians passed this week, Doc Watson. A wonderful guitarist, singer and historian, Doc brought the music of his North Carolina mountains to the world. He will be sorely missed. Here’s a few favorites. First off, Southbound his 1966 release with his son, Merle. Includes “Walk On Boy” and “Tennessee Stud”. Amazing stuff.
Secondly, Doc played all sorts of music, from fiddle tunes to jazz, but I love his blues. Here’s a good selection called Trouble in Mind. From “Little Sadie” to “Deep River Blues” (my all time favorite), Watson knew his way around the blues. Essential.