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Butternut and Parmesan Soufflé

Pair this with either a bottle of Inman Family RRV Chardonnay or OGV Estate Pinot Noir, and some just wilted, sautéed spinach.

1 medium butternut squash
Olive oil
1 oz. butter
1 oz. plain flour
1/2 c. milk
1 oz. finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs, separated
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
6 fresh sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 450F (425 F for convection oven). Butter a soufflé dish or 4 small soufflé dishes. Peel and chop squash into cubes (or cheat and buy already diced squash at the market!) Place in a roasting pan, drizzle olive oil over the squash, mix to coat the squash. Roast for about 20 minutes, turning them once or twice so that they are slightly caramelized but do not burn. Remove when just tender. Set aside to cool. Blend in a food processor. You will use about 3/4 c. of the purée.

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add the flour to make a roux. Let the roux cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly. Stir in the milk. Cook on a very low heat for a further 2-3 minutes stirring to keep from getting lumpy.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the squash purée, and two of the sage leaves minced. Season with salt and cayenne. Allow to cool slightly. Add in the egg yolks and beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until medium peaks form. Fold egg whites carefully into the squash mixture. Divide the mixture amongst the four dishes or all into the one. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the small dishes and 20-25 in a larger soufflé dish. Cook until well risen and golden on top. Serve immediately. While the soufflé is baking, crisp the remaining 4 sage leaves in a little olive oil and garnish.

Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a starter