Summer Squash Provençal

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In my last post I talked about the tomatoes I’m growing this year. Although nothing compares to fruits and vegetables you grew yourself– and nothing beats the price, after a few years’ hiatus from keeping a full garden, I wasn’t feeling nearly ambitious or energetic enough to attempt much more than that. This is what makes having so many farmers’ markets available to me in the summer essential for meal planning. I know I can get just about anything I didn’t grow myself, from local farms I know and trust to grow/raise sustainable and organic produce, meat and seafood (alas, there’s no such thing as “organic” seafood). I picked up some gorgeous local, organic green and yellow zucchini, and pattypan squash, along with several types of tomatoes for this Squash Provencal from my favorite vendor, Atlas Farm. I made my own stewed tomatoes, but you can use canned. I used canned for years and it was always delicious. I’ll have a recipe up for the homemade version soon that will render you unable to use anything else. This dish produces a lot of juice; A flavorful marriage of the veggies and tomatoes that make for a delicious sauce. It’s the perfect summer meal over nearly any grain or potatoes, simple baked white fish, roasted chicken, or cooked a little less and served as a side dish. We had it over pasta. You might even be lucky enough to have an abundance of squash growing in your own garden. If so, consider me envious. Nonetheless, I just know you’ll enjoy this dish as much as we do wherever you’re able to get your squash.

Summer Squash Provençal

2 pounds summer squash (green and yellow zucchini, pattypan squash)
1/4 cup olive oil or Butter, Divided

3/4 Cup Fontina or Mozzarella cheese, shredded, optional
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Set oven to preheat at 350 degrees F. Cut off ends from each squash. Slice squash into 1/4-inch rounds cross-wise, or 1/4-inch slices starting at the side end of pattypan squash.
Coat bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish (or close enough in size, any shape, but round dishes make for a prettier presentation) with 2 Tablespoons of butter or oil.
You can use a deep-dish 10-inch pie plate, but remember this produces a lot of juice. So make sure the dish is high enough–a good full inch in height above the squash, to accommodate for the juice.
I didn’t and pulling the pie plate out of the oven was precarious.
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Stewed Tomatoes
Two cups of diced stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Scant teaspoon fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
3/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Optional, 1/4 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
Add all ingredients to bowl, stir to combine and set aside. Proceed with assembly.
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Begin arranging squash starting from the outside and working your way towards the middle of dish until you’ve used all of your squash. Don’t be afraid to re-arrange and slant the squash to fill in large gaps or disperse colors.
Dot with 2 Tablespoons of butter or Drizzle w/ 2 Tablespoons Oil. Cover w/ Stewed Tomatoes mixture.
Bake for 35 minutes, covered with foil. Remove baking dish and check for doneness by pricking with a fork. If you’d like your squash cooked a little longer, recover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, but remember it’s going to cook longer once you add the cheese.
Remove baking dish and remove cover. Top with fontina (optional) and/or just parmesan cheese. Return to oven uncovered and bake until cheese melts, approx. 5-10 minutes. You may broil for a minute to brown cheese.

Serve over or as a side. Enjoy!

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