Yesterday I proclaimed that our star find at last weekend's Headingley Farmers Market was an enormous Pattypan Squash. Although it is quite a thing to behold, it's size was not the deciding factor in us buying it. We have tried on numerous occasions to grow pattypans with very limited success. On the allotment we only got two or three tennis ball sized squashes and at home the seeds failed to germinate.
Pattypans are closer to courgette than pumpkin on the squash scale. I love courgettes but the pattypan has become ellusive so when I saw one on the market I bought it without hesitation. My plan was to thinly slice the pattypan, gently fry the slices and use them as a replacement for lasagne sheets. This plan was scuppered when I realised that the mammoth squash's skin wasn't as soft and delicate as the tender young squashes that I had managed to grow.
The skin was as hard as Rhino hide and once I had managed to halve the pattypan I discovered that the flesh wasn't as yielding either. I decided to include the pattypan in the tomato sauce that I would have made for the lasagne and use the mixture to stuff cannelloni, only to discover that the packet of cannelloni that was tucked at the back of the cupboard only had three tubes in it.
Luckily we had enough sheets of lasagne to make a fantastic meal. The sauce had onion, garlic, peppers, fresh tomatoes, oregano, basil and of course half of the pattypan squash. It was simmered together and seasoned before becoming the first, second and third layers of the lasagne. It was topped with a cheesy bechamel sauce, some mozzarella and baked for half an hour.
The resulting lasagne was honestly the best I have ever cooked at home. They often dry out when I cook them, but the moisture from the vegetables helped to cook the pasta sheets perfectly. I didn't even miss the obligatory meat layer. I still have half of the pattypan left over too, if you have any ideas what I should do with it I'd love to hear them.