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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Timballo November 11, 2006

Posted by Paula Erbay in Main Dishes.

Inspired by the movie Big Night this timballo was called Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Timballo for a 2001 Oscar Dinner Party. It featured a pastry dragon and is based on the recipe for “The Leopard’s Dish” by Celestino Drago.

1 Ragu Recipe, Paula’s
1 Béchamel Recipe, Paula’s
1 Pastry Dough Recipe, Paula’s
1 lb Pasta, dry – Penne or Ziti
½ lb Proscuitto Coarsely chopped
3 Eggs, Hard Boiled quartered
½ lb Chicken Livers optional
10 oz Peas, frozen thawed
½ lb Mozzarella Cheese
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese grated
2 Chicken Breast halves Boneless, skinless
1 Egg Beaten – for glaze
Thyme, ground To season chicken & livers
Brandy or cognac To season chicken & livers

1. Make Ragu and refrigerate until ready to assemble – meat should be removed from sauce and stored separately. Reheat ragu sauce prior to assembly.

2. Make pastry dough the day before. Refrigerate overnight, take out about 20 minutes prior to rolling.

3. Coarsely chop the sliced proscuitto. Then cook over medium heat until softened, but not browned. Can be made ahead of time and brought to room temperature prior to assembly.

4. Sauté chicken livers or chicken breasts in butter, season with salt & pepper and thyme. Use the same pan as the proscuitto so any bits will add flavor to the chicken/livers. Add a little brandy if desired. This can be made ahead of time. Bring to room temperature before assembly. If using Chicken livers, slice them. If using Chicken breasts, shred them.

Day of Assembly:
1. Roll out 1/2 of dough on a floured surface into large circle to line a 10 – 12 inch bowl with 1 inch overhang. Line bowl with floured side against the inside of the bowl. Cover with plastic and set aside2. Roll out the other half to cover the top of the bowl with 1 inch overhang to seal the completed pie. It should be the same thickness as the dough lining the bowl. Cut decorative shapes with the remaining dough. Cover w/plastic and set aside. For “Tiger/Dragon” a dragon shape was used with small stars and crescents scattered about. 3. Make the Béchamel sauce (see recipe). Keep warm and set aside until pasta is cooked.

4. Cook pasta al dente. Drain (I use a pasta pot so the water stays in the pot – important for next step). Toss with some butter then add the ragu with the Parm. cheese mixed in.

5. Add the peas to the hot pasta water. Let them cook while mixing the pasta with the ragu. Then drain and set aside.

ASSEMBLY & Baking:
Layer the fillings into the dough lined bowl as follows:

1/3 Pasta tossed with Ragu
Half of each of the following: Béchamel sauce, Chicken livers or breasts, Proscuitto, Peas, Eggs, Meat (from Ragu), Mozzarella.
Repeat ending with the remaining pasta.
Note, you may not use all the ingredients if using the 10 inch bowl. Press the ingredients down as you go (with back of spoon) to compress and meld flavors.

Place dough over top. Crimp edges very tightly. Place a large piece of parchment paper on top. Invert onto a rimless baking sheet (it will be very difficult to transfer to a serving platter if the baking sheet has a rim).

Attach decorative cutouts over pie (brush back of cutouts with water to adhere). Brush entire pie with beaten egg (for “Tiger” it was brushed in tiger stripes). Pierce the top a few times with fork.

Bake at 350 for about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes prior to serving. Cut into wedges at table so each serving has some crust. Note: For easier handling, transfer to a cardboard circle then onto the serving platter.

For background on this dish & a photo click here Timballo for a Big Night 




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