Light and airy, Convent Pie is basically a scrumptious cheese soufflé with pasta inside!
As my friends and family can tell you, I LOVE cheese. It’s definitely one of my four main food groups! And, to me there’s nothing better than cheese soufflé. Light, airy, super cheese-y. My husband Robert’s Italian, so he loves just about any dish with pasta. So, when I was perusing the recipes in the Gordon Ranch recipe box, this one for Convent Pie jumped out at me. Reading through the ingredients and instructions, it sounded like a cheese soufflé with macaroni in it. And, that’s pretty much what it is. Cheese + pasta = a perfect dish for our household!
Convent Pie is my kind of recipe – easy to prepare with readily available ingredients. Which isn’t surprising, as all the recipes I’ve made from the Ranch recipe box fall into that category. The Gordon Ranch is owned by good friends, and my family spent a week or two on the ranch every summer, beginning when I was around 2 years old. I have fond memories of many fun activities on the ranch, including enjoying delicious meals. A dish like this one would have been served at lunch, most likely alongside a fresh tossed salad.
The prep is quick and easy. Cook pasta until al dente. While it’s cooking, mix together breadcrumbs, two cheeses (I add Parmesan to the Cheddar in the original ranch recipe) and hot milk mixed with butter. Stir in the cooked pasta and beaten egg yolks, then fold in beaten egg whites. Pour it into a greased baking dish (I like to use a deep-dish pie plate) and bake. That’s it! It puffs up a bit, but not as much as a traditional soufflé, so it doesn’t fall as much either.
Convent Pie is perfect for a light lunch or dinner – or could also be served as a side dish.
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Convent Pie (Cheese Soufflé with Pasta)
Light and airy, Convent Pie is basically a scrumptious cheese soufflé with pasta inside! Easy to prepare with readily available ingredients, it’s great for brunch, lunch or a light dinner.
- Yield: 4 main dish servings; 6 to 8 as a side 1x
- Category: pasta, vegetarian, brunch, lunch
- 1/2 cup uncooked dry pasta (I like to use elbows)
- 1 cup homemade or panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 eggs, separated (see Note)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
- Cook macaroni al dente according to package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together breadcrumbs and cheeses. Season with a small amount of salt and pepper.
- Heat milk and butter (in the microwave or on the stovetop) until hot but not boiling. Stir until butter melts. Stir into breadcrumb mixture. Stir in cooked pasta.
- Beat the egg yolks until light in color. Pour slowly into the breadcrumb mixture, stirring constantly.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into breadcrumb mixture.
- Pour into prepared pie dish, smoothing the top. Bake until set, around 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
Note on eggs: It’s best to separate cold eggs, as the yolks are firmer. However, it’s best to beat egg whites at room temperature, as they will incorporate more air. So, with this recipe, I separate the eggs before I cook the pasta, allowing them to sit at room temp while the pasta cooks.