Ditalini Timbale with Spring Vegetables

ditalini timbale

In case you’re wondering what a timbale is, think of it as a mold. Food can be cooked inside it or food can be placed inside it to form the shape of the mold, that’s what I did in this recipe with my ditalini shaped pasta timbale.

ditalini timbale

Cooked ditalini along with some of my favorite spring veggies like asparagus, zucchini and peas get folded into the mix together, then pressed into a bowl lined and coated with toasted breadcrumbs, after it cools down a bit it takes the shape of a dome.

It’s a fun way to serve up a pasta dish and it’s a nice presentation on your buffet table.

timbale

I posted a similar pasta timbale a few years ago using smaller pastina shaped pasta, see how it’s pressed tightly into the bowl? You’re going to want to do the same thing with this version using the ditalini shape.

Small pasta shapes work best for this recipe so you can be as creative as you like by picking your favorite shape. You can add in some marinara  as I did in my previous post or not, add veggies like I did or even meat if you choose.

ditalini timbale

Cookout season is upon us with many outdoor picnics and BBQ’s coming up, this is the perfect side dish for you, no need to worry about it sitting out on the table because it’s delicious and safe at room temperature.

Easy to make with a fun presentation and it tastes really good!

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Ditalini Timbale with Spring Vegetables
 
You can very the amounts of the ingredients, change things up to your liking and be creative!
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Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ditalini pasta or other small pasta of your choice
  • 2 zucchini, diced small
  • ½ lb. chopped asparagus
  • a good sized handful of peas
  • 6 or 8 cherry tomatoes quartered
  • ¾ cup grated pecorino romano, ( or Parmigiano Reggiano) plus extra for breadcrumb mix and garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 heaping tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup good breadcrumbs
  • fresh basil and parsley
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a skillet drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, add 1 grated garlic clove and over medium heat, saute till golden then pour in the breadcrumbs stirring until lightly toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. remove from heat, let it cool then add ¼ cup each of parsley and around 2 tablespoons of grated cheese, then drizzle 2 more tablespoons of oil, toss and mix.
  2. Brush a round bowl with olive oil, mine was 9 inches.
  3. Press breadcrumb mixture along the sides and bottom of the bowl evenly. Set aside. ( you might have some mix leftover)
  4. In a large skillet on high heat add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and then toss in the zucchini until you see it crisp up a bit, then toss in the rest of the veggies, asparagus, peas and tomatoes along with the other grated garlic clove. Keep stirring and watching it only takes a few minutes, then set aside.
  5. Boil your pasta according to package directions, don't overcook it then let it drain.
  6. When drained, toss it into a different bowl and add the heaping tablespoon of butter and the ¾ cup of grated pecorino, stirring fast till it melts and gets "sticky".
  7. Fold in all of the veggie mixture, some chopped parsley and basil, check taste for salt and pepper.
  8. Spoon the finished pasta mixture into the breadcrumb lined bowl, evenly distribute it along the sides and bottom, pressing down lightly so it's nice and tightly packed in.
  9. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
  10. Un-mold it onto a nice platter and decorate with basil, parsley and a little more grated cheese.
  11. Enjoy!

 

 

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Springtime Panzanella Salad

springtime panzanella

Classic panzanella is made with bread and fresh ripe tomatoes and it’s a very popular dish to make in the summertime when tomatoes are at their peak. My springtime panzanella salad presented here, which is obviously a twist on the classic, highlights peak season asparagus and other spring produce that is available now.

This version features some cooked vegetables as well as raw, a dreamy vinaigrette made with a good quality olive oil and of course crispy chunks of toasted bread throughout.

springtime panzanella

This spring green version is crisp and light, it’s hearty enough to stand alone or pretty enough to be side by side next to the perfect main of your choice. So you might want to consider this for your next party , picnic or BBQ.

springtime panzanella

Grab a baguette, slice it up and toss with olive oil, a little salt and pepper and a touch of granulated garlic, place into a hot oven until nice and crispy, then break it into crispy chunks so you can scatter throughout the salad.

This springtime panzanella salad is filled with fresh asparagus that has been blanched and thrown into an ice bath then completely padded dry, ribbons of yellow squash made with a vegetable peeler, english cucumber slices, chunks of orange pepper, red onion, defrosted peas or fresh, radish slices, sliced cherry tomatoes, a handful of arugula topped with shaved parmigiano reggiano and fresh basil.

No need for exact measurements, depending on the size of your platter just fill it with the above mentioned ingredients placed evenly all around. You can easily add, remove or change up some of the ingredients and customize it to  your own personal liking, even changing up the bread if you so desire.

springtime panzanella

Now let’s talk about the vinaigrette, I like to make it in a small mason jar by adding 1 part red wine vinegar to 3 parts of your best olive oil, add in 1 teaspoon of mayo (yes mayo) a pinch of oregano, salt and pepper then shake, shake, shake.  That’s it! Just spoon it all over and serve immediately.

Serve this up to your family and friends with all the seasonal veggies that are available right now and enjoy every bite!

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Easter Dinner Side Dishes

antipasto salad

With Easter right around the corner no doubt you have your main course already planned out but there’s always room for more sides! The side dishes are always my best loved part of the meal and the more the merrier!

I’m posting a few of my favorite side dishes here today with a variety of different flavors that would go perfect with the mains of your choice.

This Antipasto Salad is all things good on a platter, it’s a definite crowd pleaser that was inspired by my friend Stacey years ago.

roasted carrots

Roasted Carrots and Shallots with Olives and Gremolata, the gremolata gives the carrots and shallots a depth of flavor that makes the whole dish pop.

spring veggies in parmesan cream

Spring Vegetables in Parmesan Lemon Cream Sauce, because it’s always nice to have something creamy and elegant at the table.

orzo pasta

Orzo Pasta with Artichoke Hearts and Roasted Tomatoes, all mixed together with creamy parmesan cheese, so delicious and easy to serve.

 

peas and asparagus

Roasted Asparagus with Peas, no recipe needed just roast your asparagus and use fresh or defrosted frozen peas, then drizzle with a dressing of lemon and olive oil with lots of lemon zest, perfect for spring!

stuffed artichokes

Stuffed Artichokes, this is hands down our number one family favorite!

spring salad

Spring Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese, Lemon and Hazelnuts, this salad makes a beautiful centerpiece and tastes amazing!

spring pasta salad

Spring Pasta Salad, a pasta salad that screams spring with ribbons of zucchini and pretty farfalloni.

side dish

Special Occasion Side Dish, I call it this because it’s always been a staple throughout the years in my family, I serve it with almost everything, including pasta dishes.

farro salad

Loaded Farro Salad, chewy farro loaded with roasted vegetables, a side with great flavor and texture to grace your Easter table.

I hope you choose one of these different side dish options to round out your Easter feast!

 

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