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FOOD : Pasta Souffle : A Side Dish From America's Dairyland Gets the Nod as a Main Course Here

August 21, 1988

'IN THE LANGUAGE of the Potawatomi Indians native to Wisconsin, the name Milwaukee means "gathering place by the waters." So says the foreword to the Milwaukee Junior League's cookbook, "Gatherings," (Junior League of Milwaukee: $19.95). Hence the title of this prize-winning hard-cover book containing recipes and menus that reflect the food products and style of cooking prevalent in America's Dairyland.

"Gatherings" won first place in the community cookbook category in the 1987 International Assn. of Cooking Professionals/ Seagram awards contest, a nationwide competition devoted to the annual evaluation of books about food and beverages.

Among the book's more than 400 recipes is one for a Pasta Souffle. It is suggested that one might serve this light, yet hearty, side dish with a leg of lamb accompanied by a garlic-quince sauce. Perhaps. But, considering Californians' lighter eating habits, local cooks are more likely to use the souffle as a main dish for a light supper or brunch. Be prepared to make guests wait for it, however, rather than the other way around, for although it is sturdier than most souffles, it still will fall fairly quickly.

PASTA SOUFFLE

Parmesan cheese9 tablespoons butter1 clove garlic, minced1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard1 cup milk6 ounces Jarlsberg cheese, grated pound ham, cut into thin strips1 1/2 cups artichoke hearts, quartered, cooked and well-drained teaspoon cayenne pepper1 teaspoon black pepper6 eggs, separated 1/2 pound fresh angel hair or other pasta, cooked and drained Make wax paper collar to fit 1 1/2-quart souffle dish. Butter inside of collar and dish. Dust with Parmesan cheese. Set aside. In medium-size saucepan, melt butter. Saute garlic 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in mustard. Add milk, cheese, ham, artichokes and cayenne and black pepper. Cook, stirring, until cheese melts and is hot and bubbly. Remove from heat. Cool.

Add egg yolks one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add pasta. Stir to coat. Beat egg whites until stiff. Stir egg whites into pasta mixture. Blend thoroughly. Gently fold in remaining whites until well blended. Pour into prepared souffle dish. Bake at 350 degrees 40 minutes. Increase heat to 450 degrees. Bake 10 minutes longer. Remove collar. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Food styled by Norman Stewart; prop styling by Stacey Anne for A La Mode/ L.A.

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