Traditional Italian Recipe: A Spinach Soufflé
Some of my favorite parts of an Italian meal are the antipasti, or appetizers. Recently when I was in Rome, I went to one of my favorite traditional Roman restaurants and saw tortino di spinaci, or spinach soufflé, on the menu, so I ordered the rest of my meal to match the flavors of that amazing appetizer.
Tortino di Spinaci is too delicious to enjoy only once in a lifetime, so I knew right away that I’d have to come home and recreate this dish. Mama makes her soufflés with a delicious combination of spinach, gruyere and Parmigiano, which is how I made this recipe. Instead of serving it in the dish in which it was cooked, I pulled it out to show the delicious layers and colors, which is quite an impressive presentation to wow your guests.
A delicious, crisp, chilled white wine, like my favorite Mazzoni Pinot Grigio, is the perfect pairing for this course of the meal. Try this velvety recipe and it will take you back to my favorite trattoria in Roma.
Tortino di Spinaci
Yields 4 servings
Pair with: Mazzoni Pinot Grigio
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup scalded milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1 tablespoon for coating
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
1/8 teaspoon or less of cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
5 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter the inside of 4 1-cup ramekins (5″x2″) and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk, the nutmeg, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.
3. Turn off the heat and while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the gruyere, 1/4 cup of Parmesan and the spinach and transfer to a mixing bowl.
4. Putt in the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and attach the whisk tool. Beat on low speed for 1 minute then switch to medium speed for 1 minute, and finally on high speed until they form puffy glossy peaks.
5. Gently fold (not stir) into the cheese sauce until incorporated. Pour the mixture into the soufflé dishes, then smooth the top and place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 35 minutes until puffed and brown. Take them out of the oven and let them cool for 2 minutes, then cut in the middle with a 3″x1″ cookie cutter. Transfer onto the plates and serve slightly warm.
Influenced by memories in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother, Italian-born Francesco Romano is the man behind the food blog, Coco de Mama. He shares recipes and culinary knowledge with Mazzoni fans each month.