Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eggplant...... TIMBALE..... timbale.....

I recently read a little story on line about how this casserole came to be.  I don't know if there is any truth to it or not, but it’s a cool little story and it  goes something like this....
In Southern Italy during the Renaissance period a law was passed which forbid anyone from serving more than three courses at any meal. (Three courses??? Seriously??? What kind of Italian is going to eat less than three courses during one meal?  It’s not possible. What a dreadful law. )
  So... the story says that the Southern Italian woman found a way to beat the system (of course they did).  They hid their three course meal in an eggplant molded casserole.  They stuffed as much as they could inside the eggplant, folded it up and baked it.
I can just picture those jolly Italian women in their rustic kitchens with sauce stained aprons and big grins on their faces as they hid their pasta, meatballs, sauce and cheese inside this beautiful eggplant casserole.

After doing a little more research, I found that during the Renaissance period, Northern Italy enjoyed a rich and robust economy but Southern Italy suffered poverty and had little access to trade routes.  This is when and where some of the most treasured and creative  Italian dishes were started..
The Southern Italians  used what ingredients they had access too.   
 And thus we have the invention of pizza and dried pasta!

You can make your timbale's big, you can make them small, you can make them flat, you can make them tall.  Most importantly, you can make them with whatever you have leftover in your kitchen.   I stuffed mini's with pasta sheets, ricotta cheese, 1/2 a meatball, fresh mozzarella, sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. I stuffed my large with rigatoni, ricotta cheese, sausage and mozzarella.    Can you imagine all of that goodness inside grilled eggplant?  Those women were genius! 
Below are directions for mini single timbale and large timbale.  For the large timbale you'll need a 9 inch spring form pan.  For the mini's you can use any small casserole, mini spring form pans or ramekin pans.

Brush olive oil on both sides of the eggplant and grille until soft.

Grease what ever pans you decide to use with olive oil and lay four pieces of eggplant inside.  You can use a cupcake tin, ramekins, or just use a cheesecake pan for a large sized casserole.

First layer is a pasta sheet, broken to fit or you can use cooked pasta.

Layer of sauce.

Layer of Ricotta Cheese.

Another Layer of Sauce.

1/2 a meatball.

Layer of fresh Mozzarella.

More Sauce

Sprinkle of Parm.

For Large Timbale

Layer of Grilled Eggplant

Layer of Pasta

Layer of Ricotta and Sauce

Layer of Meat

Layer of Cheese

Fold over with edges and add more grilled eggplant to fill in the gaps.

Add Sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese.  In the oven at 350 F. for 1 hour.

Run a knife around the edge and release the side form.

No comments:

Post a Comment