Put the cottage cheese to drain in a sieve. Grate the Parmesan.
Pull off any big stalks from the spinach and blanch the leaves in lots of fast-boiling salted water for 30-60 seconds. Drain immediately and refresh in ice-cold water. Drain again and squeeze gently to remove as much moisture as possible. Chop and reserve.
Melt half the butter. Working 2 sheets at a time and keeping the other sheets under a damp tea towel, brush each sheet of filo with the melted butter and use them to line a 23 cm/9 in tart tin, overlaying the sheets 3 deep to cover the bottom and overlapping them at angles to each other to create an even base. Allow them to hang over the edges a little. All this does not have to be too uniform. Make a thick bechamel: melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan, stir in the flour and then whisk in the milk. Bring to the boil, lower to a simmer and grate in nutmeg to taste. Whisk from time to time and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. It will be very thick. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Stir in the drained cottage cheese and the Parmesan.
Separate the eggs and whisk the whites until stiff.
Beat 5 of the egg yolks into the béchamel (keep the other in the refrigerator to enrich another sauce), then put the sauce into a large bowl. Take a scoop of the egg whites, throw it into this mixture and cut and stir it in with a spatula. Rotate the mix vigorously and then add the remaining egg whites. Gently but firmly cut them in until you have a light and airy mixture.
Spoon the soufflé mixture into the lined tart tin.
Pull up any edges of pastry to sit against the filling and put on a rack in the centre of the oven.
Cut into portion-size wedges and serve immediately, or leave to cool and serve at room temperature.
© 1995 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.