Courgette, N’duja and Parmesan Soufflé

Serves: 3-4 - Time:

Courgette, N’duja and Parmesan Soufflé
Courgette, N’duja and Parmesan Soufflé Courgette, N’duja and Parmesan Soufflé

I can’t remember who first put the idea of cheese, n’duja and eggs into my head but I thank them profusely. This is a soufflé with attitude-it packs a punch. If you don’t like heat you can leave out the n’duja ( the spicy Calabrian pork paste) but perhaps add a teaspoon of paprika instead. At the risk of repeating myself, soufflés aren’t as tricky as their reputation suggests. If you can make a white sauce, or béchamel sauce to give it its correct name, and you have an electric whisk you can make a soufflé. A roasting pan of water in the bottom of the oven is always a good idea as the steam creates the perfect conditions for a good rise.

Ingredients

  • 460g courgettes, about 2 medium-sized
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 80g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 65g flour
  • 450ml milk
  • 140g grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ tablespoons n’duja paste
  • 5 eggs, separated 
Courgette, N’duja and Parmesan Soufflé

Method

  1. Heat the oven to fan 180˚c, mark 6. Place a roasting pan filled with about 3cm hot water in the bottom of the oven. Generously grease a one-and-a-half litre soufflé dish with butter. Put the grated courgettes into a sieve and sprinkle over the salt. Leave for 20 minutes. Meanwhile you can make the soufflé base.
  2. Melt 60g of the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for one minute. Gradually beat in the milk until the sauce is smooth and thick. Cook, stirring over a low heat for 3-4 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the cheese and n’duja. Leave to cool a little while you deal with the courgettes.
  3. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the courgettes. Heat the remaining 20g butter in a frying pan and sauté the courgettes, stirring them often, for 4-5 minutes. Tip them into the soufflé  base mixture and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary (it shouldn’t need much, if any, seasoning). Beat in the egg yolks.
  4. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Carefully fold them in the cheese mixture. Spoon into the prepared soufflé dish. Run a knife around the edge of the soufflé mix, about half a finger deep, which will ensure an even rise. Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until risen and with a bare wobble. Serve straight away.