Makes 4 luncheon servings or 6 first course servings.
This soufflé is easy to prepare and has the distinct taste of squash and cheese.
1 acorn squash, about 2 pounds
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus ½ tablespoon for greasing the soufflé dish
4 scallions, including the green part, cut into thin slices
8 ounces cottage cheese, at room temperature
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Cut the squash in half and discard the seeds and fiber. Place the halves, skin side down, on a foil-lined pan and bake until the inside is soft, about 40 minutes. Cool.
Butter a 1-quart soufflé dish.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small skillet and sauté the scallions.
Scoop the squash from the shells (discarding the shells) and place in a medium bowl. Mash coarsely with a fork, and then add the scallions, egg yolks and cottage cheese. Combine well and season to taste with salt and pepper. THIS PART CAN BE PREPARED AT ANY TIME.
Beat the egg whites at high speed until stiff. With a rubber spatula fold ½ of the whites into the squash mixture to lighten it. Repeat with the remainder of the whites, mixing gently.
Spoon the mixture into the soufflé dish (place a piece of heavy foil in the center of the oven rack, in case of any drippings) and bake for about 35 minutes. The soufflé should be puffy and golden on top (it rises a little).
When a recipe calls for stiffly beaten egg whites the surest way to know whether they are fully beaten is to tilt the bowl. If the egg whites stay when turned over they are ready.