Pattypan Squash Soup with Pesto Recipe

I’ve been a little hard on the patty pan squash, and for that I apologize.

About a year ago, I posted a recipe for Roasted Patty Pan Squash and Herbed Chickpeas, and wrote, “avoid patty pans that are larger than the palm of your hand: they will likely be watery and bland.”

I do stand by my statement that young and small patty pan squashes have more flavor, better texture, and undoubtedly more kawaii appeal than their bigger brothers, but that’s not to say the latter should be forsaken. Especially when you find one such specimen in your weekly vegetable basket, white and smooth as china.

Inspired by a string of chilly late summer days, I decided to make pattypan squash soup with it, a simple one, made with shallots and chicken stock in under thirty minutes. And to boost the flavor and tie it back to the season — fall, I’m not ready for you yet — I made pesto.

It’s a classic sort of pesto with basil and pine nuts, but instead of parmesan or pecorino I used ricotta salata, a pressed, dried and salted ricotta I’ve been playing with lately: it’s not a very meltable cheese, but I like its tang and milkiness, and it fares well in salads or in this condiment for my pattypan squash soup.

Because I love interactive dishes — especially soups, which can be a bit one-dimensional otherwise — I served the pesto in a jar at the table, for us to scoop into our bowls, stir, and watch the cream-white soup fleck with green. Add a hunk of fresh-baked pain au levain, and you’ve officially achieved dinner bliss.

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Pattypan Squash and Pesto Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4 to 6.

Pattypan Squash and Pesto Soup Recipe


    For the soup:
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 pattypan squash, about 23 cm (9") in diameter
  • 1 liter (1 quart) chicken or vegetable stock, homemade if you have it
  • salt, pepper
  • olive oil
  • For the pesto (see note):
  • 50 grams (about 2 1/2 cups) basil leaves
  • 50 grams (1 3/4 ounces) ricotta salata (or parmesan, or pecorino)
  • 25 grams (3/4 ounce) pine nuts, toasted
  • salt, pepper
  • olive oil


  1. Peel and mince the shallots. Remove the stem end and bottom button of the pattypan squash (no need to peel it). Quarter it, and cut it in chunks then slices. Put the stock in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. In a medium pot, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Add the shallots and a sprinkle of salt, and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until softened, stirring regularly to avoid coloring.
  3. Add the pattypan squash, sprinkle with salt, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the simmering stock, plus any boiling water necessary to completely cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the squash is very soft.
  4. While the soup is simmering, prepare the pesto. In a blender or food processor (you can also work by hand in a mortar if you prefer), combine the basil, cheese and pine nuts. Add a good pinch of salt, some pepper, and a generous drizzle of olive oil, and pulse until smooth. Add more olive oil if necessary for the pesto to come together.
  5. Remove the soup from the heat, put on an apron, and whizz the soup with a stick blender (or in batches in a regular blender) until completely smooth.
  6. Serve hot, but not too hot, sprinkled with freshly ground pepper, with pesto on the side for each diner to add a spoonful to his bowl.


The recipe makes more pesto than you'll need for this soup; I doubt that will be a problem.

This post was first published in September 2010 and was updated in January 2016.

  • This sounds very good! Simple and of the season.

  • You have beaten me. A vegetable I have not tried so far, and you even claim it tastes faintly of artichokes: one of my favourite flavours ever! I hope I can find one to try soon, and I can even ignore its size now :)

  • Would you believe that I’ve never eaten summer squash soup? I’ve been intending to try some all summer and I just haven’t gotten around to it.

    However, I just made a big batch of pesto, so I may have to pull some out of the freezer and give this one a try…

  • I confess to being anti-pattypan squash, I find them cute to look at but unappetizing to eat.. Not sure why, something about the odd shape (I know it’s silly of me…)

    would you mind if I use old fashioned zucchini instead? ;-)

    soup season is right at the corner, this sounds perfect (by the way that soup you have on your first book, courgette au sesame, is one of our all time favorites!)

  • This sounds delicious. I’ve never cooked with pattypan squash before but will give it a go next time I see them at the market. Thanks :)

  • MMMMMmmmmmm delicioso!!!

  • I have to say that I’ve never cooked with shallots before (I’m still what you would call a “newbie”) so I appreciate the detailed directions. This recipe looks fabulous!

    • You can think of shallots as elongated onions, really, and handle them the exact same way, but they’re usually less pungent, and more delicate in flavor.

  • Oooh I’ve never thought to add pesto to soup but that’s such a fabulous idea! Now I need to get my hands on some pattypan squash!

  • This looks just lovely! Pattypan squash are my favorites, but I too have been quite disappointed by some of the bigger fellows. I am glad to find a recipe for those!

  • Sounds delicious! Especially served with pesto & bread as you did. The ricotta salata is a nice, refreshing and different ingredient for the pesto – I’m keen to try it :)
    Heidi xo

  • Clotilde, I’ve got to admit the latest dreary days in Paris have made me long for soup as well… I’ve been keeping it summer-like with tomato soup, but I’m pretty sure heartier versions are in the upcoming future! Your soup looks and sounds really delightful.

  • Very simple recipe indeed, the very best kind for Summer days! I have also found the same basic formula (stock + cooked vegetable + onion family member)you use here works outstaningly well for other veggies such as peppers, carrots, spinach, etc. Nicely adaptable recipe.

  • Pesto!? I read that one word and immediately knew that I would want to take a bath in this soup.

    Excellent recipe, cannot wait to take my crackpot shot at it.

  • Getting into cool weather warm soup season. This does sound good.

  • This looks and sounds so tasty! I love squash and pesto, and I know I’m going to need lots of soup recipes to get me through the Paris winter this year! I think a little feta cheese sprinkled on top would add a very nice touch as well.

  • Yum! I never know what to do with pattypan squash. I love thhe idea of soup. Perfect!

  • Rachel

    This looks lovely – and very appropriate for my part of the world, where apart from a few warm weeks summer has pretty much refused us its presence!

    I hope this doesn’t seem like a silly question, but do you think this would work just as well with small young pattypan squash? I’ve never seen the larger ones at my farmer’s market.

    • It would absolutely work with small/young pattypan squash, and the soup would probably taste better for it. It would also be possible to use zucchini, the regular size or those overgrown ones.

  • I’m sort of with you on pattypan squash — I think it’s an easy target because other winter and summer squashes are so wholly perfect. But you certainly made the best of it here!

    And I adore pesto in any soup. Especially a nice swirl of pesto in a white bean or pumpkin soup — that’s a spoonful of heaven.

  • I am a first time visitor to your blog and would you believe I’ve never heard of patty-pan squash!! I’m thinking that we have it here in Australia under another name – the soup looks delicious!

  • This sounds like a wonderful soup. I do admit I’ve neglected pattypan squash in the past, but I do believe I’ll be using it more in the future, namely in this soup!

  • I have never tried, or even seen a pattypan squash. I will have to give this one a try. I love finding new food tastes!

  • i’ve no idea what pattypan squash is either. but i love simple soups like this, especially with crusty bread.

  • I never try this combination but it looks fresh and light, so i must to; i’ll let you know my feedback

  • Michelle

    Clotilde, you weren’t kidding about the apron! :-)

  • Thank you for this yummy recipe, I’m going to try it. I am an acupuncturist by trade and I also love good food, so I’m always on the lookout for tasty and healthy recipes to pass along to my patients. Yours fit the bill! Merci encore Clotilde!

  • We do have pattypan squash in Australia, Dianne – look in the organics section at the markets. I never buy it larger than 2 inches in diameter, and usually smaller (smaller squash have a firmer texture and more delicate flavour). However, it is good to see a way to use an overblown squash – thanks Clotilde!

  • Velia Antila

    I use the white Mexican zucchini for my version of this soup. It differes in that I do not use nuts, basil or olive oil. Instead I use “epazote” a mexican herb for flavoring and sautee briefly the zucchini and shallots in butter before adding chicken broth, and proceeding to smooth in blender.

  • HINT: If your squash is large, you do in fact need to peel it.

  • Eliza

    I was so happy to find a recipe to use all of the scalloped squash from my garden! I didn’t have a 9″ squash, so I used several smaller ones. I used pesto I purchased from the store, which was still delicious. For a little texture in the soup, I cut up a separate squash and sauteed it with butter, salt, and a little sprinkling of thyme. Really yummy!!

    • So glad to hear it, Eliza, thanks for reporting back!

  • Today was a cold, rainy, end-of summer day. I also had a patty pan squash laying around, so it decided to try this recipe. My significant other is reluctant to try new vegetables, but I just said it was zucchini and it was a hit! Also, I was delighted to discover how easy home-made pesto is. I wonder why I’ve never tried it before?
    Merci, pour un bon repas ce soir!

    • This is indeed the perfect recipe for a chilly late summer night, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Also, I’m excited for you that a whole new world of pesto recipes awaits you. :)

  • Diana Thompson-Sorric

    Clotilde where have you been all my life? Thanks to your blog and can harvest, prepare and process all the over-abundance of vegetables from my garden. I am making this with all my bowling ball sized squash now! Thank you! Merci pour tous les bonnes idees!

  • I’ve actually never heard of a pattypan squash, but I just looked them up and I’ve definitely had them. This soup looks delicious + I love anything with pesto :)


  • Jennifer Harmon

    Went a week without checking my garden and brought in 2 large patty pan squash. Googled summer soup recipes with patty pan and found this one. So easy to make! I threw in some carrots and red potatoes with the squash and some frozen pesto. After veggies were fork tender, I pureed in my BlendTec. Added some Thai seasoning and coconut milk for a delicious summer soup. Thanks for the starting off point! :)

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