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Pattypans: Oven Adorableness!

Summer squash can be rather meh, if you ask me. But pattypan squash redeems the typical mediocre flavor of this garden variety by offering an absolutely adorable presentation. The folks at Delishably provide a great rundown on all the varieties of pattypans out there. My motivation for this dinner dish came from hosting two vegetarian houseguests for a long weekend. We needed something healthy, delicious, and filling, so this one is chockfull of good grains and legumes with the added flavor of fruit, nuts, and cheese.

Serve these little buggers as an appetizer, side, or add a half-pound of your favorite protein (they are fabulous with mild Italian sausage!)

Stuffed Pattypans

8 yellow pattypan squashes, washed and dried

3 T olive oil, divided

1/2 cup red quinoa

1/2 cup beluga lentils

1/2 cup chopped leeks, rinsed and drained

1-2 Pink Lady apples (depending on size), diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced (or a handful of baby carrots)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts

1 cup finely grated parmesan

Slice tops off squashes as shown in picture and reserve. Core pattypans using a spoon. Try to keep from damaging the walls of the squashes. Seed the innards as best you can and chop. Set aside.

Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray and arrange hollowed pattypans in dish. Brush with 2 T olive oil inside and out. Brush the tops as well and place in one corner of baking dish. Preheat oven to 375 °F. Rinse quinoa and lentils in a small colander and drain thoroughly. Bring to a simmer with 1 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook 20 min, stirring periodically. Then remove lid to allow water to cook off. Continue stirring periodically and remove from heat when all water is cooked off. Set aside In a 10-inch frying pan with sides, sauté leeks in remaining tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. (I actually like mine caramelized, so I go a bit further.) Add cored squash, apples, celery, and carrots, and stir fry 5 min. Add quinoa/lentil mixture and seasonings and cook another 5 min. Remove from heat and add walnuts. Allow to cool 5 minutes. Using a standard silverware spoon, stuff pattypans pretty tightly. Sprinkle generously with parmesan. Bake covered in foil for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes. Poke sides of squash with a toothpick for doneness. (Should be fork tender!)

Cool 10 minutes and serve. Makes 4 main dish servings (two pattypans per person) or serves 8 as an appetizer.

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