Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Tag: michael chiarello

Potato Gnocchi

Whenever I am in the mood to cook Italian I always turn to my favorite Napa Valley Chef, Micheal Chiarello. His recipes are always clean and full of flavor. This recipe for Potato Gnocchi does not disappoint. Gnocchi [pronounced ‘Nyoke-ee’] is a type of dumpling […]

Cheap and Tasty: Super Quick Minestrone

I really jumped on the eating fresh band wagon years ago when I spotted Michael Chiarello on the Food Network. His dishes looked amazing. He made making gnocchi and tomato puree look so simple. In some recipes that call for pancetta I will go ahead […]

18th Century Chicken Timbale to Modern Day Pastina Timbales

A few years ago I went on a quest to dig up recipes from the early 1900’s. I was curious to know what types of meals they prepared at the time while living on a strict budget with limited convinences. Timbale was one of the few that intriqued me the most. Surprisingly I discovered that by mid-18thC people were becoming concerned about the added calorie count of baking in crusts and were looking for alternative ways of cooking without having to eat the container.

A timbale is sort of like an eggy souffle or custard that can be made using a variety of ingredients, including the classic timbale of spinach, mushrooms, onions, and breadcrumbs in addition to other types of meats, grains and vegetables. Timbale is usually prepared in individual ramekins cooked partially submerged in a tray of water. The steam created by the water aids in helping the custard to set. Timbale may be served hot or cold in individual ramekins or plated and dressed with a sauce.

I thought I would include the classic version of a Timbale in addition to a more modern flavorful recipe from one of my favorite chef’s Michael Chiarello of Napa Valley.

Chicken Timbale
Source: Unknown – Budget saver meal from the late 1930’s
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp finely diced onion
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Divide mixture among custard cups or individual baking dishes.

Place cups in pan of very hot water and bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of timbale comes out clean.

Cooked macaroni, spaghetti, or noodles may be substituted for the cooked rice,
Cooked ham, pork, turkey, fish, or rabbit may be used in place of the chicken. If you have less than the 1 1/2 cups of chicken (or other meat) the recipe calls for, stretch the meat with sliced hard cooked eggs and cooked peas.

**When serving to little kids limit the heat by using mild Italian Sausage in the filling and 1 jalapeno pepper in the sauce.
Pastina Timbale
Source: Michael Chiarello
1 tbsp unsalted butter
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound spicy Italian sausage links, boiled for 6 minutes and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pound pastina (tiny pasta)
Pastina Timbale Sauce, recipe follows

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Brush 8 (12-ounce) ramekins or 1 large oven-safe bowl with butter and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and saute sausage until browned.

Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons of the oil and the minced garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook until the garlic is light brown, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bread crumbs to the skillet and stir them every minute for 3 to 5 minutes until the crumbs are lightly toasted. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup of the parsley and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Cook for 30 seconds. Pour the bread crumb mixture into the prepared ramekins or bowl and press around the sides to line with the bread crumb mixture, using your fingers to evenly distribute it along the bottom and up the sides.

While the Pastina Timbale Sauce is simmering, cook the pastina in the boiling salted water until just shy of al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain the pastina in a colander. Reheat the sauce, if needed, and add the drained pastina and then the browned sausage. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of parsley, and remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir to combine. Transfer the pastina mixture to the lined ramekins (1 1/4 cups per ramekin) or large bowl. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Invert the molded pastina timbale onto warmed individual serving plates, and serve.

Pastina Timbale Sauce:
3 pounds canned diced tomatoes, drained
2 jalapeno chiles
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup minced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Gorgonzola
1 small jar roasted peppers, julienned (about 1 cup)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl, toss tomatoes and whole jalapeno chiles with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place tomato mixture on a cookie sheet and roast in oven for 15 or 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from heat and finely chop the tomatoes. Transfer tomato pulp and any juices from the cutting board to a bowl. Chop the chiles and taste to determine their heat.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, season with salt, and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and stir. Add the chiles and simmer for another minute, only adding as much jalapeno as you want for spice. Add the tomatoes and their juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir in the Gorgonzola. Stir in the roasted peppers and the parsley. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.