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Pattypan Ghosts for Hallowe'en


I’m a big kid at heart. Even though our children have long since left the nest, I still enjoy celebrating holidays with as much whimsy as I did when they were around. I’ve been thinking about what to make for dinner on Halloween using seasonal ingredients and an easy recipe. Last week a friend of ours brought over a couple bags of squash from his bountiful garden. There were the well-known varieties of butternut, acorn and my favorite, delicate, along with a couple dozen gourds to put in a centerpiece.

What caught my eye though, were a couple of white “ghosts” peeking out of the bag! What looked like chubby little ghosts were actually giant white Pattypan squash. I’m familiar with the tiny yellow or green Pattypans, but had never seen such giant ones and never a white one. I’ve seen a ghost! Perfect for Halloween.

Pattypans are much milder than autumn squashes with a flavor similar to yellow summer squash. Because it’s so mild, the squash can be liberally seasoned with your favorite spices. The skins are edible (as are delicata squash skins) and can be baked, sliced/breaded and deep fried or simply boiled. The giant varieties are also delicious when baked with your favorite stuffing such as rice and hamburger or a curried rice and vegetable mix.

To keep it simple and keep the ghostly shape, I baked the Pattypans until tender, then let them cool a bit before scooping out the seeds and serving with a drizzle of butter, salt and pepper. Before slicing, I added a couple of black olives for ghostly eyes and served the squash with some “ Hungarian Ghoulash” on the side. Trick or Treat!

For this recipe I used Pattypan squash that were about 1 ½ pounds each, or 5-6 inches in diameter.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash the Pattypans to remove any dirt then place on a foiled-lined baking sheet. If they’re the “ghost” shape, place them stem-side-down.

Season the squash liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper and a generous sprinkling of your favorite spice blend. I used Penzey’s Justice Seasoning – but a combination such as herbes de Provence or Italian spice blend would be just as delicious.

Bake the squash for 30 minutes until tender enough for a knife to gently pierce the skin. Let the squash cool enough to be handled then cut out the stem and scoop out the seeds. The squash can be served in 1-inch thick slices.