Our year of experimental gardening has produced at least one gargantuan success so far: our plants of the squash family. We planted two types of pumpkin ~ Dickinson and Chioggia ~ and several types of squash: Costata Romanesco zucchini, Golden Pattison pattypans, white pattypans, yellow summer squash, and lemon squash. All but the white pattypans came from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, which is my new favorite seed catalog and company ~ but the white pattypans (from our local Farmer’s Exchange) have done just as well, and in fact their production has surpassed everything but the yellow squash.
All of our squash plants have flourished, going from seedlings under our grow light to small transplants to giant vines enthusiastically roaming “off the reservation” (my mother-in-law’s phrase). For weeks now, we have been eating roasted pumpkin, grilled pumpkin, pumpkin pie, pumpkin curry soup, pumpkin vegetable soup, sauteed squash, roasted squash, grilled squash, squash bread, stir-fried zucchini, zucchini bread, and even zucchini meatloaf. Most of which have been a roaring success, and some of which will eventually appear on this blog, I promise!
Charles loves the pumpkin soup ~ and indeed, Chioggia is the smoothest, creamiest, most savory and soup-perfect pumpkin either of us have ever had. However, today I’m sharing MY favorite, for which I hit upon the perfect name.
Introducing: SUNSHINE SQUASH CASSEROLE.
I gave it that name because it is SO yellow, it looks like bright, cheery sunshine! It tastes like it, too. I made it with white pattypans because we have had more of them than anything else (though the pumpkins are about to really come into their own and surpass all others). But we have discovered that all of these squash are quite versatile and interchangeable. Summer squash or zucchini would be great in this casserole too.
Witness the glorious process:
Put your sliced squash in a casserole dish with salt, pepper, and sliced onions.
Make your creamy, cheesy, sunshine-y sauce …
and drizzle it over the squash and onions, along with thinly-sliced cheese. Complete several layers like this.
Top with cheese and crumbles, and bake into a scrumptious delight. Then share with a table full of friends!
Without further ado:
Sunshine Squash Casserole
2-3 medium pattypan squash (or yellow squash or zucchini), thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup butter, lard, or bacon fat
salt and pepper (sprinkle)
2 Tbsp. flour or lupin flour
3 cups milk, cream, and/or half-and-half
2 Tbsp. mustard (yellow, Dijon, or spicy brown)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 lb. (1/2 block) mozzarella or cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
1 cup cracker crumbs (I used lupin crackers made from this recipe)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Layer squash and onion slices in a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; combine well. Slowly pour in milk; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add mustard and spices. Drizzle sauce over squash and onion slices; top with cheese slices. Add two more layers of squash/onions, sauce, and cheese. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs. Bake 20-30 minutes until topping is browned and squash is tender. Serves 10-12.