So I have not had time to post my latest recipe, because, between music rehearsals and work, it seems like I have had one thing after the other, but I am just glad that I am able to cook this week, am I right?
We had company over on Tuesday and I was totally inspired to make something I had seen Giada De Laurentiis cook on her show Everyday Italian. If you have not seen her show, you are missing a lot! Well, anyway, 2 weeks ago she demonstrated how to assemble and cook a timbale. What is a timbale, you ask? Well, a timbale is a savory pie traditionally made of meats or vegetables and cooked in a drum-shaped mold, according to FoodWords.com . Even though the recipe was rated as difficult, I refused to let that get in my way. Giada made it seem so simple! The only thing you do need for this recipe is time. Between preparing, cooking and assembling, the total process takes about an hour. Since company was already over, I was not able to take a picture of the finished product, but I borrowed Food Network's picture that somewhat looked like mine.
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian
2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound penne pasta
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound Italian pork sausage
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (I left out the peas since my husband dislikes them with a passion)
2 cups store-bought marinara sauce (I used 6in1 all-purpose sauce which is all natural)
2 tsp Italian seasoning (My own addition)
3 garlic cloves (My addition)
1 1/2 cups diced smoked mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces) (Smoked not available; used reg)
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus 1/4 cup (left it out, trying to reduce calories)
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Special equipment: 9-inch springform pan
Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or pre-heat a gas or charcoal grill. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the eggplant slices with 1/3 cup olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant until tender and colored with grill marks, about 4 minutes per side. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the beef and pork, and brown the meat, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the peas and marinara sauce and stir to combine. Add the cheeses, basil, and cooked pasta. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the springform pan with the grilled eggplant. Be sure that the slices overlap and hang over the edge of the pan.
Fill the pan with the pasta mixture, pressing down to make sure the pan is filling up evenly.
Fold the eggplant slices up over the top of the pasta and add a few more slices on top to completely enclose the timbale. Bake the timbale until warmed through and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes. Let rest on the counter for 10 minutes to set.
To serve, invert the timbale onto a serving plate and remove the springform pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top. Slice and serve.
I then proceeded to make dessert, which was my own creation!
Peach Phyllo Tarts
Peach compote filling
20 ripe fresh peaches, peeled and pitted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp apple fiber (optional: it makes it thicker)
Boil peaches in a big pot for 5-10 minutes. This makes the peeling easier. Drain the peaches and cool until a warm to the touch. Peel all the peaches and remove the pits. Slice the peaches and place in a pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the fiber. Let the mixture boil on medium-high heat for 30-45 minutes. Add the fiber and boil for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and place in a glass jar. Cool until lukewarm.
8 phyllo sheets, thawed and divided in 2 piles of 4 sheets
2 Tbsp melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place one Phyllo sheet on wooden cutting board. Brush melted butter over the entire layer. Place the second sheet on top and repeat. Do the same for the rest of the phyllo sheets. Makes 2 sets of 4 sheets. Cut 4x4 inch squares and place each section in a regular muffin pan. Fill each cup with the peach compote and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool on cookie sheet and refrigerate. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon. Makes a dozen.