“Cajun-Inspired Shrimp-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash” may be my best recipe ever for fixing all the numerous summer squashes which grow my garden. I used these cute little “space ship” shaped patty pan squash and stuffed them with a savory shrimp filling. The patty pan squash are very bland compared to other summer squash varieties. They pair perfectly with a classic Cajun-type shrimp stuffing. If you are looking for an unique dish to share with family and friends, here it is.
You will probably not find patty pan squash in grocery stores. These novelty squash are more likely to be found in farmer’s markets. Or grown them yourself. The squash plants appear very similar to zucchini squash and yellow squash in a garden. The squash develop from yellow flowers. The individual squash can weight from 4 oz to almost one pound (shown on the right). That squash got away — we found it hiding under some heavy leaves. The squash are very mild in flavor — a great variety to use if you don’t like the flavor of squash!
For stuffed squash, it is best to use squash that are approximately the same size. I used six smaller squash in this recipe — they weighted from 4 oz to 8 oz. I used six squash total — but decided not to hollow out the cute, smallest one. This served four people. If serving six folks, make sure to use squash which weigh about 8 ounces each.
For these stuffed squash, the filling is a savory Cajun-style shrimp filling — very similar to the stuffing which I have used in several other recipes. The stuffing consists of vegetable seasonings, the shrimp, bread crumbs, an egg and just a bit of Creole seasoning. And I added the pulp of the hollowed out squash.
I used very small, salad-sided shrimp (150 – 200 count) in the recipe. These tiny shrimp have lots of flavor and the size matches the small squash. I used raw but frozen, headless and peeled shrimp. They are IQF frozen which means “individually quick frozen” shrimp. It is easy to take out of the bag just the amount of shrimp that you need for the recipe without having to defrost the entire bag.
For the recipe, first boil the squash until they are tender in a large pot of salted water. It takes about 10 minutes to boil the 4 oz squash and 15 – 20 minutes for the larger ones. You want the squash to be firm, but easily pierced with a knife. Then hollow out the squash. Which side to you hollow out? Hollow out the side with the stem, or the fluted side.
The larger squash had lots of seeds, which I discarded. One squash collapsed. Don’t throw that squash away! I chopped it up and added it to the stuffing. Reserve the pulp of all of the hollowed out squash.
For the stuffing, first get everything ready. Chop up the vegetables — onion, bell peppers and garlic. Make sure the shrimp are defrosted and drained. Then sauté the vegetable seasonings in butter (yes, use butter for flavor). Add the tiny shrimp and sauté just until they turn pink. Add a tiny bit of creole seasoning. A little seasoning goes a long way in this dish — it is really optional. Don’t add to much. Add the reserved squash pulp, then the bread crumbs. Last add the egg (for a binding).
Next, stuff the squash and place in an oiled casserole dish. Woops, I have way more stuffing that fits in my squash. So, I just placed the extra stuffing around the edges of the casserole dish. When serving, it is easy enough to place a little extra stuffing on each person’s plate.
Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven until everything is hot and cooked through. Since all the ingredients in this recipe are already cooked (except the egg) as you prep the dish, the casserole just needs to heat up in the oven.
This recipe serves four to six people. However, my husband and I ate the entire recipe in one day.. It’s that good. I ended up with only four whole squash after one squash collapsed and I decided the cute one was too small to use. If serving six folks, to solve that problem of not enough squash, I would probably cut the largest squash in half and serve some of the extra stuffing at these plates. Or don’t mess up the squash when you cook them (i.e. don’t overcook them)) and make sure all the squash are about 8 ounces each. This is another delicious Cajun-style dish. Enjoy this recipe which uses a unique-looking summer squash!
Cajun-Inspired Shrimp Stuffed Patty Pan Squash
- 1-1/2 cups (about 8 oz) raw but frozen, peeled and deveined small shrimp (150 – 200 count)*
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 medium-sized patty pan squash (about 2 pounds squash)*
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning (optional)
- 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- fresh parsley, minced
Instructions and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil casserole dish, large enough to hold the squash.
- Defrost shrimp in cool water in refrigerator or under slowly running water. Drain and set aside.
- Boil squash. Bring a large pot of salted water to boiling. Add whole patty pan squash. Boil until squash can be easily pierced with a knife but are still firm. This takes about 10 minutes for 4-oz squash and 15 minutes for larger squash. Drain squash.
- Hollow out the fluted, stemmed side of the squash. First slice off the stem of the squash. Then use a spoon to carefully remove the pulp and seeds. Discard seeds of large squash. If a squash collapses, add it to the pulp. Chop the pulp and set aside. Place the hollowed out squash in a large, oiled casserole dish.
- Melt the margarine over low heat In a large skillet. Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Increased the heat to medium-high. Add the defrosted shrimp. Sprinkle on creole seasoning (optional). Cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp are pink.
- Add the reserved squash pulp and stir to heat and combine.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the Italian seasoned bread crumbs and large egg and stir to combine.
- Fill the hollowed out squash with the stuffing. Place any remaining stuffing around the squash in the casserole dish.
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until the stuffing is cooked through and bubbly.
- For serving, garnish with minced parsley.
*NOTE: If serving six people, increase shrimp to two cups and increase the bread crumbs to one cup. Use patty pan squash which all weigh about eight ounces each.