Two-Cheese Squash Soufflé

Every serious Southern cook has his or her special crookneck squash soufflé. This is mine, in its most recent reincarnation. For years, I made the soufflé with no garlic and only sharp cheddar cheese, then decided it had to be more aggressive. Now I’m convinced that a combination of well-aged, extra-sharp cheddar (preferably Vermont or Canadian) produces the ultimate soufflé. For the right texture, do not use a food processor for this dish, and when shopping, buy only bright yellow, firm, medium-size yellow squash with no dark spots. The soufflé is ideal with short ribs of beef, meat loaf, and baked ham stuffed with greens. I wish I could say that this soufflé can be mixed and frozen, then thawed and baked, like so many others, but it has never tasted right when I’ve tried this. Don’t ask me why. I don’t even like leftover soufflé that’s refrigerated in foil and reheated for another meal.

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Ingredients

  • 8 medium yellow squash (about 3 pounds), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • ½ cup dry bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated genuine Parmesan cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large saucepan, combine the squash and onions, add enough salted water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer till the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain in a colander and mash well with a potato masher or heavy fork to extract excess liquid.

Place the vegetables in a large mixing bowl, add all the remaining ingredients except about 3 tablespoons of the grated Parmesan, and mix thoroughly with a heavy spoon. Transfer the mixture to a well-buttered medium-size baking or gratin dish, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top, and bake till golden, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.