Pastina Timbale

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

 1 pound spicy Italian sausage links, boiled for 6 minutes and cut into bite-size pieces

 2 teaspoons 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 Timbale Sauce, recipe follows:

Pastina Timbale Sauce:

3 pounds canned diced tomatoes, drained

 2 jalapeno chiles

 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 Salt and freshly ground pepper

 1 cup minced onion

 1 tablespoon minced garlic

 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves

 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

 2 tablespoons Gorgonzola

 1 small jar roasted peppers, julienned (about 1 cup)

 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. 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.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and saute sausage until browned.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 
  7. 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.
  8. Invert the molded pastina timbale onto warmed individual serving plates, and serve.

Pastina Timbale Sauce:

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
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