Thursday, October 01, 2009


Amanda, cookery teacher Katia and me at loveSicily on Tuesday.

Amanda, Lois and Katia.

Off early again yesterday morning for the second cookery class, your galloping gourmet blogger is beginning to get used to the pace!

Katia explained that we would be making a timballo of sausage and ricotta, stuffed pork chops and a very ancient sweet which her grandmother called il nido [the nest].

First, the timballo: Katia uses ziti pasta to form the base and alternate layers, so this was cooked and, when it was ready, sprinkled with olive oil:

Meanwhile, we popped a fennel-flavoured Sicilian sausage out of its skin and broke it into small pieces.

So that we could each make our own timballo, Katia used individual small, springform tins but you could also make this in a large, rectangular dish. We smeared a little ricotta onto the base of our tins and watched Katia start to fit the pasta on top:

Then Katia smeared some ricotta onto the pasta and we mixed the rest of the ricotta [3 x 12 oz tubs were used in all] with the sausage. [Katia says you can add chopped marjoram at this stage if you like.]

Next we had to lay circles of pasta on top of the ricotta and sprinkle them with grated ragusano cheese:

After that we added a layer of the sausage mixture, then another of pasta and so on until there were 3 layers of pasta in all and the top was covered with another layer of sausage misture and sprinkled with cheese:

The timballi were baked in an oven heated to 180 C for 30 minutes

and lo and behold, when I turned mine out at home, it was near perfect [much to my surprise!]

I'm sure that when I prepare this at home I will make much more mess than we all did at Katia's, but it will be worth it. It's a very satisfying dish to make - and to eat!

Now for the pork: Katia had asked her butcher to cut a pocket in each chop

and to flavour some minced pork and beef with fennel seeds and chilli flakes. She mixed the meats together, adding 1 egg:

We chopped some semi-matured ragusano cheese roughly and sliced 4 hard-boiled eggs:

Then we each used a dessertspoon to spread the meat mixture in the pockets of the chops, topping it with a little of the cheese and egg slices. "The chops should not look pregnant", joked Katia. We closed the pockets with wooden skewers:

Next Katia chopped half a white Giarratana onion and seared the chops in oil. Then she added the onion, which should not brown:

She mixed a dollop of my favourite ingredient, 'strattu, with a little red wine and added it to the pan, after which we all had fun doing the same with "our" chops:

Finally we put all the chops together in a large pan to simmer with the sauce for 30 minutes:

My, that tasted good!

Lastly,the dessert: Katia says this is a very ancient dessert which few people make nowadays. I think it must be related to Greek kataifi and Albanian kadaif and therefore that the Greeks must have brought a version of it to Sicily. [If anyone can confirm this and again, if any Sicilians know the Sicilian name for it, please tell me.]

Katia has a special take on this dessert and she first cooks capelli d'angelo [angel hair pasta] in a mixture of dry Marsala and water with a pinch of sugar.

We grated a lemon per portion or "nest" of pasta. [Yes, it's the green lemon season again!]

Then we mixed the pasta portions with the lemon zest and a little sugar:

Next we fried the portions one by one, pressing them down with a fish slice. Once they are brown around the edges, turn them. When they are done, drain them well on kitchen paper:

Finally, cut the portions to make a nice shape, spoon a generous amount of your favourite honey over and add some chopped pistacchi:

Believe me, eating this is heaven on earth!

Grazie per la compagnia a Lois e Amanda e grazie a te per una bella lezione, Katia.


Unknown said...

I am rather wishing that I was in your class, at least for the eating part of it.

Unknown said...

How fabulous is this? You make me want to drop everything and attempt to cook like that!

James Higham said...

Amanda? I'd imagine you'd be the cookery teacher there. :)

Saretta said...

You are having fun, aren't you?

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

A very interesting cookery class..especially the reminds me of a Maltese dish called Timpano..Macaroni Pie..which my family used to cook.

Found this link...

Minnie said...

Mmmmm - l'eau a la bouche, Welshcakes. And excellent photos, also. Thank you. Is this your last session, or will there be others?

CherryPie said...

That timballo looks really interesting.

Leslie: said...

I'm especially intrigued by the timbali...I might even give it a try myself.

Liz Hinds said...

Catching up after my holiday - when i'm on a SERIOUS diet - and all there is is food!

jmb said...

You really lucked out with these lessons Welshcakes. I am sure you are not only learning something but having lots of fun as well.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Nick. I wish you were there, too! We would have had fun. Hi, Lost. Katia is just wonderful. Hi, James. Katia is the teacher and I am very happy to learn from such a creative person. Hi, Saretta. I sure am! Hi, Anne. I loved the timballo. Thanks for the link. Thanks, Phidelm. There was one more session on Thursday. I'm hoping to get the post up tonight. So glad you like these. Hi, Leslie. Yes, do - it was superb. Sorry, sorry, sorry, Liz! I certainly did, jmb. I can't remember when I've had so much fun!

Ellee Seymour said...

How did you manage to keep your hands clean all the time to take photos, as well as cook!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Ellee. I didn't! Kept having to wash them.

Peter @ italyMONDO! said...

MMMm.... I love timballi, and that one looks great! I've never made one with real "full" ziti before. Looks like you ladies had fun :-)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Peter. Yes, we had great fun - and a good gossip!


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