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CHEF'S SECRETS

Italian Intrigue

January 24, 1991|ROSE DOSTI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Who but a chef with a sense of Medici intrigue and the patience of Job would tackle timballo , the ancient lasagna specialty of Italy's Abruzzi region? It's made with 18 crepes, three types of meat and several kinds of vegetables and cheeses.

Domenica Baglioni is such a chef. She came from Italy to prepare her native specialty at a dinner honoring restaurateurs given by her brother Emilio, owner of Emilio's Ristorante in Hollywood.

TIMBALLO

ABRUZZESE

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Olive oil

1/2 small onion, pierced with 2 whole cloves and sliced

1/2 small carrot, chopped

1/2 small celery stalk, chopped

1/4 pound lean ground veal

1/4 pound lean ground pork

1/4 pound lean ground beef

1/4 pound mushrooms, finely chopped

2 tablespoons white wine

3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 fresh basil leaf, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons grated hard, dry cheese (preferably Grana Padano)

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 egg

Milk

Salt

3 canned artichoke bottoms

3 small zucchini

Flour

2 egg yolks

Grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Crepes (Crispelle)

Melt butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet. Add onion, carrot and celery. Saute until lightly browned.

Add veal, pork, beef and mushrooms and saute until browned. Add wine and cook 3 minutes until almost absorbed. Add tomatoes, basil, nutmeg, Grana Padano cheese and parsley. Simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix egg with 1/2 cup milk and salt to taste. Cut artichokes and zucchini into thin strips. Coat with egg mixture and dredge lightly with flour. Saute lightly in olive oil until golden. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Combine egg yolks, 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Set mixture aside.

Layer 6 crepes in bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish, allowing edges to extend up sides of dish. Cover crepes with even layer of 1 1/2 cups meat filling. Top with 1/2 of artichokes and zucchini and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup reserved egg mixture over all.

Repeat process to form second layer. Place remaining 6 crepes on top and fold in any overhanging edges of other crepes. Pour remaining egg mixture over crepes and sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.

Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let stand, covered, 20 minutes before cutting. Makes 12 servings.

Crepes

(Crispelle)

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons milk

Beat eggs. Beat in flour, olive oil, water and milk until smooth. Chill.

Heat 10-inch crepe pan or skillet. Pour about 3 tablespoons batter into greased pan. Tilt and rotate pan to cover bottom completely with batter. Cook until browned underneath, then turn and cook crepe until browned on other side.

Remove and place on paper towels. Continue to cook crepes, cooling, then stacking, until all crepe batter is used. Makes about 18 crepes.

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