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June 18, 2010

Timballo Abruzzese


dscn2394At the first taste of a Timballo, memories of nonna and mamma in the kitchen and families gathered around the table flood back to any Abruzzese living abroad.   Served for special occasions and made in the style of a lasagna but with thin crepes instead of pasta,  this version is classic, well-balanced and pure in taste.  As with many regional dishes they vary not only from region to region but from village to village.   Other regional versions may add spinach, artichokes and other local ingredients and the use of chicken and veal in the meat portion give this dish a delicate flavor.  This is the Scarpone Family recipe for Timballo Abruzzese that Nonna Lidia and Grazia Scarpone made for the Golden Glass and the Villa Italia 20th Anniversary celebration.    Please enjoy!

Timballo Abruzzese
(serves 8 people)

Ingredients to make crepes:
8 eggs
8 tablespoons of flour
water ( add enough water to make the batter thin & liquidy)

Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat. Add enough batter to cover pan, but the crepe should be thin. Use entire batter, then set aside.

Ingredients for the tiny meatballs:
11 oz. ground beef (for tiny meatballs)
4 oz. of bread crumbs ¼ tsp. nutmeg
4 Tbls. Parmigiano Reggiano salt & pepper

Mix ingredients, roll into ½ inch tiny meatballs and fry in vegetable oil until thoroughly cooked. Set aside.

Ingredients for the filling:
11 oz. ground pork
11 oz. ground chicken or turkey
11 oz. of ground beef
3 or 4 eggs
12 Tbls. of Parmigiano Reggiano
½ tsp. of nutmeg
18 oz. of bread crumbs
salt & pepper

Mix ingredients together then spread onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 250 Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. When done, cut meat mixture into ½ x ½ in. square sections. Set aside.

11 oz. of gizzards
8 oz. of white wine
4 Tbls. of olive oil
1 carrot (roughly chopped)
1 stalk celery (roughly chopped)
1 small onion (roughly chopped)
salt, pepper & nutmeg

Sautee the the vegetables with olive oil for about 2 minutes, then add the gizzards and white wine. Cook for about 25 minutes, until cooked. Cut the gizzards into tiny pieces. Set aside. Toss away the remaining ingredients.

Ingredients for the 1st phase of sauce:
1 small carrot
1 small onion
1 stalk of celery
2  24 oz. cans of tomato sauce
6 oz. of pork cut into pieces and some bones

Put ingredients into a blender or Cuisinart and blend or chop into tiny pieces. Sautee in vegetables in olive oil, then add the pork and cook for a 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce and cook for another 25 minutes, then set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Ingredients 2nd phase of sauce:
5 eggs
4 cups of milk

Whisk eggs and milk. Add tomato sauce and whisk together.
Mix the tiny meatballs and tiny squares of meat together in a bowl. Set aside.

Ingredients for filling:
22 oz. fresh mozzarella
6 Tbls. Parmigiano Reggiano

Cut mozzarella into ½ x ½ square inches and mix together with the meat and cheeses.

Assembling the timballo:
*Prepare a minimum of 6 layers.

Line a casserole dish with parchment paper and dot with butter.
Line the casserole dish with about 5 crepes, overhang half each crepe over the edges and around the casserole dish. (make sure there are no empty spaces).
Add about ¾ cup of tomato sauce onto crepes.
Add about a cup of meat mixture & cheese mixture onto the crepes.
Repeat for 5 more layers then fold over dampen edges with sauce onto the timballo. Dot timballo with butter and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 45 minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. After 30 minutes, remove foil paper and let it bake to a golden brown. When finished, let the timballo cool for about 5 minutes. Place a platter over timballo in casserole dish and quickly turnover onto platter. Cut into 8 individual pieces.
Buon Appetito!
Grazia Scarpone


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