One of Emma’s favorite sessions at our Cooking School, where we make an entree and a dessert together, was Soufflé Day–we made one with cheese (gruyere) and one with–you guessed right!–chocolate. (I’ve found that anything that puffs or rises is generally a big hit with kids, as is anything that needs to be skewered, rolled, twisted, or stuffed. Anything that provides lickability–chocolate and other sweets–is always a winner, too.)
Ever since the original Soufflé Day, in order to keep the Mommy Police at bay, we make either a sweet or a savory version, not both, and soufflés in all kinds of flavors have become a favorite family meal (or dessert) with a simple green salad. We’ve made them with ham, bacon, spinach, broccoli, and all sorts of cheeses from cheddar to gorgonzola.
Around lunchtime, we were searching the refrigerator for something to eat (does anyone else have the issue of going to the grocery store, spending a bundle and getting home only to find there’s nothing to eat?). In the cold-cut drawer we spied some pepperoni and mozzarella, two rare ingredients in our house…but Bruce had gone to the market, and when that happens one never knows what will come home with him. Immediately, Emma and I looked at each other. A spontaneous brainstorm: Pizza Soufflé. We enjoyed it immensely, but Emma said her favorite is still the gruyere–it’s true, gruyere is more flavorful than mozzarella but given my normal lunch, this was gourmet all the way and quite enjoyable! Also, I highly recommend this as a starter soufflé for your kids.
3 T unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling in the dish
3 T flour
1 cup scalded milk
2 t. Italian seasoning
Pinch cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 yolks from large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup pepperoni, cut into little slices or cubes
5 egg whites from large eggs, at room temperature
Pinch cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the inside of a soufflé dish and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Meanwhile scald the milk. When scalded, add to the butter-flour mixture along with the Italian seasoning, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until smooth and thick.
Remove from heat and mix in the egg yolks. Stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni.
Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until firm peaks form. Whisk one-quarter of the whites into the cheese sauce to lighten, then fold in the rest carefully. Pour into the prepared soufflé dish. Turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until puffy and browned. Serve right away!