Parmesan Cheese Souffle
Have on hand
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for preparing the ramekins
2 tablespoons AP (All purpose) flour
3/4 cup milk
3 Eggs, separated
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
Preheat oven to 375°
In a medium pot, over medium heat, melt the butter until just melted. Whisk in the flour. Now, slowly stream in the milk, and continue whisking until fully incorporated. Cook until it thickens into a thin, paste-like consistency. Remove from the heat, and stir in the cheese until almost totally melted. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until medium peaks are achieved. Once the sauce has cooled down a bit, whisk in the egg yolks, then season with thyme, salt, pepper, and for those of you that like a little heat, the cayenne pepper. This is your souffle base. Beautiful isn’t it? Transfer the base into a medium bowl, then, using a whisk or spatula, slowly, and gently, whisk/fold in 1/3 of the whites. This is called sacrificing, and is done so that the remaining 2/3 whites won’t deflate just in case the sauce is too warm. Whisk in the remaining whites just until no white steaks can be seen.
Lightly butter your ramekins, then fill each one about 3/4 full. If too full, they will souffle up, out, and over the edge. Transfer the prepared ramekins to the oven, and bake, until the tops are golden brown and the souffles are … well, you know, souffled. Puffy, and delicious! Serve immediately with a sprig of thyme.
The great thing about making souffles is that you can make the base ahead of time, then, when your guests arrive, simply remove the base from the fridge, fold in the whipped egg whites, and off you go!
Makes 4, four-ounce souffles.