If you’ve been checking the blog’s Facebook feed this past week, you will have noticed that the whole week has been dedicated to Julia Child. Her birthday is August 15th, and she would have been 105 years old today. I love honoring her on my blog because of all she has done to inspire me. Watching her cooking videos, learning about her life, and flipping through her massive cookbooks has taught me a variety of life lessons. One: keep going no matter how much you goof up. Whether you’re spilling the cognac or mess up flipping a potato pancake, you have to keep moving forward. Two: dedication. It took nearly a decade for her and her co-authors to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and despite rejection and re-writes they persevered to create one of the most iconic cookbooks in American history. Three: laugh, and do it often. Even though it took tremendous focus and “scientific workability” to launch Mastering the Art of French Cooking, if you read her biography and watch her shows, she has tons of fun and was known for her infectious humor. She is one of my heros and I have so much gratitude for her dedication to her craft.
Last Christmas, my boyfriend got me a lesser-known cookbook of hers, The Way to Cook, which also has a video series that goes along with it. Because of some lovely pattypan squash I got at the farmer’s market, I decided to do a take on her stuffed pattypan squash. I omitted the breadcrumbs to make the stuffing grain-free and substituted spinach, which is such a lovely addition to cheesy fillings. I liked the step of blanching the whole squash before stuffing because the baking time was greatly reduced.
I also have another stuffed pattypan squash recipe which you can find here. Also, I have been celebrating Julia’s birthday for quite some time on this blog, and you can find all my previous posts here.
With gratitude, thank you Julia!
Stuffed Pattypan Squash
4 pattypan squash, about 3 inches across
3/4 cups minced onion
1/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken stock)
2 tsp butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup softened cream cheese
1/2 cup cooked spinach (thaw 1/4 lb frozen spinach and squeeze out all the water)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch fresh thyme
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
1. Drop pattypans into a large stockpot of boiling water and blanch 10-15 minutes, or until they start to yield to pressure. When cool enough to handle, trip and discard stem end, making it flat, and then using a paring knife to remove the blossom button. Make a cup by carving out a core at the blossom end, then use a melon baller to remove the flesh, being careful not to puncture the skin. Leave 1/4-inch of flesh.
2. Add squash pulp to a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all the water.
3. Meanwhile, add onions and wine (or stock) and simmer until tender, about 7-8 min. Add butter and squash pulp and cook until liquid evaporates and the mixture begins to brown lightly. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. Combine egg, cream cheese, spinach, salt and pepper to taste, thyme, and swiss cheese in a bowl. Add cooled squash mixture.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
6. Place squash in a square baking dish. Add filling, pressing the mixture down into the squash cups and mound it up. Pour stock around the squash. Sprinkle a teaspoon of Parmesan on top of each squash. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the Parmesan has browned. Serve with a drizzle of the pan juices, if desired.
Recipe can be made ahead of time and stopped at two time points: after blanching the squash, cool, cover, and refrigerate until use. After baking the squash, they can be held in a warm oven about 20 minutes before serving.