Klaatu Barada Ragu! - Loosely translated, Gort the robot is saying "Have some delicious UFO-shaped patty pan squash (also known as petit pan squash) for dinner!"
The first time I saw the flying saucer-shaped patty pan squash, I was convinced the aliens had landed and
were voting Republican were propagating their species through these little green and yellow space eggs. It took me a while to get up the courage to actually buy some of these patty pan squash and try them out.
Uncooked, patty pan squash is very much like a sweeter zucchini with fewer seeds. (The extra seeds are clearly in the pods they use to replace humans with simulacrums.) They resist heat a bit more than regular zucchini (of course - they need the heat shields for re-entry into the atmosphere), but a little olive oil and salt over medium heat breaks them down effectively.
I enjoyed them in a sauce of chopped tomatoes in their juice with white beans and some nice Italian spices. The squash, beans and tomatoes are a classic combination and the bay leaves and oregano give it a Mediterranean favor that proves the Colloseum was built by aliens.
UFO's with White Beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 or 6 medium patty pan squashes, 3"-6" in diameter
1 - 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes in juice
2 - 14 oz cans canellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
up to 1 tablespoon flour to thicken
salt and pepper to taste
Slicing the squash can be a bit of a challenge because of their shape. The key is to give yourself a flat surface to do the finer work of slicing the squash thin. Start with well washed patty pan UFO's. First, trim the stem and the bit at the opposite side of the stem off because those don't have the best texture and don't taste the best. I assume that's where they put the tracking devices and mind-control rays.
Next, cut the saucer section in half front to back (not along the ridge line, but perpendicular to it). If the patty pan is too large (say more than five inches or so across), cut it in half perpindicular to the first cut so you have saucer quarters. Place the half (or quarter) saucer cut side down and make 1/8" - 1/4" thick slices parallel to the ridge line, eventually cutting the ridge down the center. Continue with all the squash.
Heat the olive oil in a pan until it starts to shimmer. Add the garlic and sautee for two minutes until the garlic smells wonderful.
Add the sliced squash and sautee for five minutes just until the squash starts to soften. Yes, during this time you will have Unidentified Frying Objects in your pan.
Add the tomatoes with their juice, the beans, the feta cheese and the oregano. Stir well to combine. Add the bay leaves just under the liquid from the tomatoes and turn the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for ten minutes.
Remove the bay leaves, add salt and pepper to taste. If the squash is too wet, add the flour slowly and stir to thicken the sauce. Serve with whole grain bread and with trepidations of the oncoming invasion from the Omega system. Have a Mars bar for dessert.