For this elaborate pasta dish capellini is used to make a pasta shell, which is then filled with ham and cheese. It is traditional in Sicily to serve this as a first course, but it can easily be a main dish followed by a simple salad of fresh greens.
2 1/2 C. milk
1 beef bouillon cube
3 T. butter
1 T. flour
S & P
1 lb. capellini
1/2 C. (4 oz.) boiled ham (prosciutto cotto), chopped
1/2 C. (4 oz.) Fontina cheese, diced
1/2 C. (4 oz.) Emmentaler (Swiss) cheese, diced
1/2 C. (4 oz.) Ricotta Salata, grated
3/4 C. (3 oz.) Parmigiano
1/2 C. bread crumbs
Make a balsamella by pouring the milk into a small saucepan. Add the bouillon cube and heat the milk, stirring to dissolve the bouillon cube. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and whisk in the flour. Whisk the warm milk mixture into the flour. Return to a simmer over mod. heat and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 20 min. Season with S & P. Set aside.
Cook the pasta in a large amount of salted water, until almost al dente, about 2 min. Drain the pasta and immediately toss it with 2 cups of the white sauce. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining white sauce with the ham and all the cheeses and set aside.
PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 350°
Butter a 12 in. springform pan. Dust the bottom and sides of the pan with 1/4 C. of the breadcrumbs. When the pasta is cool enough to handle, wet your hands and line the prepared pan with 3/4 of the pasta mixture, pressing it against the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Fill the shell with the remaining ham, cheese mixture. Cover with the remaining pasta, pressing down lightly. Cut the remaining 2 T. of butter into pieces and scatter over the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 C. of bread crumbs on top.
Bake until the crust is golden, about 50 min. – 1 hr. Let the timballo rest for at least 15 min. Remove the sides of the pan and transfer the timbale to a platter. Serve warm, cut into wedges.
This recipe was adapted from Lanza, Anna Tasca THE HEART OF SICILY, 1993 NY :Clarkson Potter