January 2021

Parmesan Soufflé With Ragù Bolognese


for the ragù bolognese:
1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large yellow spanish onions (about 1 pound), peeled and finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
5 celery stalks, finely chopped
¼ pound pancetta, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 head garlic (about 10 cloves), peeled and finely chopped
¼ cup double-concentrated tomato paste
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh coarsely ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (grated with a fine Microplane or a nutmeg grater from a whole nutmeg)
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock (sodium-free or low-sodium store-bought), plus more as needed
1 cup whole milk

for the soufflé:
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
8 extra-large eggs
¾ cup finely grated parmesan
½ large yellow spanish onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 árbol chile
2 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (grated with a fine Microplane or a nutmeg grater from a whole nutmeg)
¼ teaspoon fresh coarsely ground black pepper 
12x7inch oval ceramic baking dish (or another baking dish with a 12-cup capacity)

for serving:
a chunk of parmesan for grating 
medium serving bowl


To make the ragù Bolognese: Heat 1 ½ cups of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the oil slides easily and is smoking around the edges of the pan. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and translucent. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 to 3 hours, stirring often, until the vegetables are dark brown and have almost completely broken down into a paste. Transfer the soffritto (vegetables) to a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat it until it slides easily and is smoking around the edges of the pan. Add the pancetta and garlic, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the fat from the pancetta has rendered (melted) and the garlic is golden brown. Return the soffritto to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, to cook the vegetables in the pancetta fat. Move the vegetables and pancetta to one side of the pan. Add the tomato paste to the space created and cook for about 2 minutes to caramelize the tomato paste, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn.

Add the ground veal and pork, sprinkle the salt, black pepper, and nutmeg over it, and stir to distribute the seasonings. Cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the juices from the meat have cooked off, leaving the pan almost dry. Add the white wine and cook for about 10 minutes, until it is almost all evaporated. Add about one-third of the chicken stock, reduce the heat to low, and cook the ragù for about 2 hours, adding the remaining chicken stock in thirds, until the last of the chicken stock has cooked off. Stir in the milk and cook for another 30 minutes, until the ragù has a thick, saucy consistency. Turn off the heat. If you are making the ragù to serve another day, let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a covered container and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve it.

To make the soufflé: Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 425℉.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 12-inch (or another 12-cup-capacity) baking dish.

Separate 3 of the eggs, dropping the whites into the bowl of a stand mixer and the yolks into a separate large bowl. Separate the remaining 5 eggs, adding the whites to the mixer bowl with the other whites and reserving the remaining 5 yolks to use another time. (You will use all 8 egg whites, but only 3 egg yolks.)

Add the Parmesan to the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk to combine.

Combine the butter, onion, árbol chile, and bay leaves in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the onion is tender and translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent the onion from browning. Add the flour and cook until the mixture begins to bubble, about 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually add the milk and cream, whisking constantly with the whisk. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat, place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl, and strain the sauce into the bowl. Add the salt, cayenne, nutmeg, and black pepper, and stir to combine. Gradually add ½ cup of the warm cream sauce to the bowl with the egg yolks and cheese, stirring constantly with the whisk to prevent the hot liquid from cooking the eggs. Add another cup or ladleful of the cream sauce, stirring constantly. Gradually add the contents of the bowl back to the saucepan with the remaining sauce, stirring as you add it.

Put the mixer bowl with the egg whites on the stand and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until they reach stiff peaks. (When you lift the whisk out of the bowl and turn it upside down, stiff peaks will stand up, not droop over.) Remove the bowl from the stand. Add one-quarter of the egg whites to the saucepan with the sauce and use a rubber spatula to stir it in with the eggs until they are completely combined. Add the remaining egg whites, folding them to combine. 

Pour the soufflé batter into the baking dish and smooth out the top. Place the baking dish in a roasting pan and add enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the dish and place the pan in the oven. Bake the soufflé for 20 to 25 minutes, until it has tripled in size and the top is a deep golden brown. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully remove the baking dish.

To serve, while the soufflé is baking, warm the Bolognese in a saucepan (or the pan you cooked it in) over medium heat, stirring occasionally, adding chicken stock or water as needed to give it a thick but spoonable consistency. Transfer the Bolognese ragù to a medium serving bowl and serve with a large spoon. Serve the soufflé with a second large spoon for people to serve themselves, scooping large mounds of soufflé onto their plate, and topping it with a generous helping of Bolognese. Using a fine Microplane, grate a generous layer of Parmesan over the Bolognese. 

Parmesan souffle    1200x675