eat in my kitchen

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Tag: timpana

15 Recipes for your Easter Brunch Table

Tsoureki Easter Bread

Hunting Easter eggs in the woods was one of my childhood’s spring highlights. The sweet smell of blossoms and sunlight in the air, the trees’ leaves presenting their most fragile green, and – in a lucky year – I could even replace boots and jacket for shirt and jeans while searching for golden wrapped chocolate eggs and bunnies. I always loved the sprouting energy that comes with the change of season, when winter’s shades of grey and brown give way to vibrant colours. Easter is a changing point in the year, there’s the promise of summer in the air.

Is there a better way to celebrate this day than gathering your loved ones around the table and treating them to a luscious brunch? Here’s some inspiration (click the titles for the recipes):

Tsoureki – Greek Easter Bread with Aniseed and Orange Blossom Water

greekeasterbread18

 

Traditional Maltese Figolli

figolli20

 

Eggnog Sponge Cake with Whipped Cream

eggnogeastercake19

 

Poppy Seed and White Chocolate Babka

Poppy Seed and White Chocolate Babka

 

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

 

Rhubarb Tartlets with Cinnamon Oat Crumble

rhubarbtartletcinnamonoatcrumble16

 

Gruyère and Red Onion Focaccia

Gruyere Onion Focaccia

 

Pistachio Orange Blossom Muffins

Pistachio Orange Blossom Muffins

 

Crescent Milk Rolls with Poppy Seeds

Poppy Seed Crescent Milk Rolls

 

Bean and Ramp Quiche

Bean and Ramp Quiche

 

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

 

Marzipan-Ribboned Challah Knots

Marzipan-Ribboned Challah Knots

 

Cheesecake Swiss Roll with Mascarpone and Blackberries

Cheesecake Swiss Roll

 

Roast Rosemary Lamb with Garlic and Tomatoes

Roast Rosemary Lamb

 

 Spinach Ricotta stuffed Conchiglioni on Grilled Cherry Tomatoes

Spinach Ricotta Conchiglioni

 

Spring Timpana – Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Peas, and Leeks

Spring Timpana

 

There will be two new Easter recipes coming up this Sunday and next Wednesday!

 

Eggnog Easter Cake

Spring Timpana – Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Peas, and Leeks

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

Yesterday’s excitement called for lots of carbs – and a glass of wine! It was a day packed with too many emotions to handle. After sharing the cover of my book and the Amazon pre-order links here on the blog, I felt overwhelmed by all the sweet emails and messages I got from all over the world. I needed good, solid, rustic food for dinner to calm me down. I made a dish that is so packed with carbs that it actually feels a little weird, but it’s also packed with flavour and comfort, so it makes sense. I baked a springy Maltese pasta pie, also known as Timpana. I introduced you to this Maltese street food classic a few months ago and the response to the recipe was crazy.

Timpana is basically short pasta stuffed into a buttery pastry shell. Usually, it’s enriched with Bolognese, which is nice but it can get a little boring if you’ve eaten it for years, so last time I made it I went for a meat-free Mediterranean filling of zucchini, eggplant, tomato, and basil. It was so good that I thought I’d never need another filling ever again. But then spring came around the corner with all its pretty greens. Wouldn’t it be nice to see green asparagus, sweet peas, and leek inside this pie beauty? I didn’t have to think about it twice. I went to the grocery store, put all the vegetables in my bicycle’s basket, and once home, I turned on the oven.

It’s still a little weird for me to look at this combination of penne and shortcrust in a rational way but maybe this dish shouldn’t be overanalyzed. It simply feels and tastes good, and after the first bite, my mind and emotions were at ease again: I felt so happy and thankful to have the eat in my kitchen blog and book in my life, both of them connect me with so many people all over the world and bring so many fantastic experiences into my life.

Behind the scenes of my Timpana on Snapchat: eatinmykitchen!

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

 

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

Spring Timpana – Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Peas, and Leeks

You’ll need a 20 1/2cm / 8″ springform pan.

Serves 4-6

For the filling

penne pasta 250g / 9 ounces
green asparagus, trimmed, about 500g / 1 pound
peas, fresh or frozen, 200g / 7 ounces
olive oil
leek, thinly sliced, 200g / 7 ounces
Dijon mustard 3 teaspoons
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
ground pepper
organic egg 1
Parmesan, freshly grated, 80g / 3 ounces for the filling plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
(or 100g / 3 1/2 ounces for the filling if you prefer the pie more cheesy)

For the pastry

plain flour 300g / 2 1/3 cups
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
butter, cold, 150g / 2/3 cup
organic egg yolks 2
water, cold, 2 tablespoons

For the glaze

organic egg yolk 1
milk 1 tablespoon
a pinch of fine sea salt

For the filling, cook the penne in salted water until al dente, they should have bite. Let the pasta cool completely.

In a large pot, bring salted water to the boil and cook the asparagus for about 3 minutes or until al dente. Reserve 120ml / 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the asparagus and rinse quickly with cold water. Let the asparagus cool completely, then cut into pieces as long as the penne.

In a small saucepan, cook the peas in boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.

In a large, heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat and cook the leek for about 10 minutes, stirring once in a while, or until golden and soft; let it cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting).

For the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolks and water and continue mixing with the dough hooks of an electric mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form 2 discs, dividing the dough roughly 2:1, wrap in cling film, and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

For the filling, in a large bowl, combine the pasta, the reserved asparagus cooking water, mustard, salt, and a generous amount of ground pepper. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and mustard, then stir in the egg and mix until well combined. To fill the pie, the filling should be completely cool.

For the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, milk and salt .

Take the dough out of the freezer and roll out both discs between cling film, the large disc, for the bottom and sides of the springform pan, should be about 32cm / 12 1/2″, and the smaller disc should be big enough to cover the pie.

Line the bottom and sides of the springform pan with the large pastry disc. Spread 1/3 of the pasta mixture on top of the pastry, sprinkle with 1/3 of the Parmesan, 1/3 of the vegetables (asparagus, peas, and leek) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue making 2 more layers. Pour any remaining liquid from the pasta mixture over the filling. Close with the pastry lid and gently push the rim with your fingers to seal the pie. Using a toothpick, prick a few holes into the top of the pie. Brush the top with the egg glaze and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cheese.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 175°C / 350°F and bake for another 50 minutes or until the pie is golden and the pastry is baked through. Let the pie cool for at least 15 minutes before you cut it into pieces.

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

 

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

 

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

 

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

 

asparagusspringtimpana9

 

asparagusspringtimpana11

Timpana – Maltese Pasta Pie with Zucchini and Aubergine

Timpana

After a long discussion in the kitchen with my (Maltese!) boyfriend, I have to accept that my recipe is not a traditional Maltese timpana – but it tastes just as good, even my man agreed with that!

Timpana is a Mediterranean dish which is very popular in Malta and also in Italy. It’s penne or macaroni pasta mixed with Bolognese sauce baked in a pastry shell – basically a pasta pie. My version, however, left out the meat sauce. I cooked a concentrated red sauce with fresh tomatoes and lots of basil instead and sautéed zucchini and aubergine slices until golden and juicy. So, here’s the blatant difference, I piled the tomato basil pasta with layers of the sliced vegetables and parmesan in a buttery pastry shell, which, to me, justifies calling this dish Timpana. But sometimes opinions about food differ, especially when it comes to tradition recipes.

Obviously I ate my first Timpana in Malta, bought from one of the tiny bakeries you find at almost ever street corner in the towns and villages. They sell this pasta dish cut into large squares along trays full of buttery Pastizzi and rich ricotta filled Qassata. It’s a street food lunch classic on the island. When I ate a piece of this hearty dish for first time, I didn’t quite understand the concept of wrapping pasta in crisp short crust. But after years of enjoying at least 1 or 2 pasta pies during my stay in the South I got used to this tradition bite by bite. It just makes you feel good, it’s delicious comfort food that combines the best of a pie with lighter comfort of fruity penne. I must admit that I prefer the addition of vegetables, the Bolognese sauce makes it a bit too rich and heavy for my taste. But I won’t argue about that ever again, especially not with a Maltese person!

Timpana

 

Timpana

 Timpana – Maltese Pasta Pie with Zucchini and Aubergine

For a 20 1/2cm / 8″ pie (a loose bottom spring form works best) you need

For the filling

penne pasta 250g / 9oz
medium sized tomatoes, chopped, 6 (about 650g / 1 1/2 pounds)
fresh garlic (preferably spring garlic) 1 clove
salt
olive oil
tomato pasta (Kunserva) 1 tablespoon
Balsamico vinegar 1 tablespoon
pepper
fresh basil, thinly sliced, about 12 large leaves
medium sized zucchini, cut into 1/2cm / 1/4″ slices, 2 (about 380g / 13 1/2oz)
medium sized aubergine, cut into 1/2cm / 1/4″ slices, 1 (about 270g / 9 1/2oz)
parmesan, freshly grated, 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon for the topping

Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, they should have bite. Let the penne cool.

On a chopping board, rub and press the chopped garlic under the blade of a large knife with 1/4 teaspoon of salt until you have a smooth paste. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pan, add the garlic paste, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes until thick. Stir in the basil and season to taste, make sure that the basil comes through quite strong. Let the sauce cool completely before you mix it with the cooked pasta.

In a heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and sauté the sliced zucchini on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Cook them in batches, they should be spread out in the pan and not on top of each other. Season with salt and pepper and set them aside to cool. Heat a generous splash of olive oil and sauté the sliced aubergine in the same pan. They will need a little more oil (you’ll have to add some in between batches) and they will also need to cook a bit longer, they should be golden brown, soft and juicy. Season to taste and set them aside to cool.

 

For the pastry

plain flour 300g / 2 1/3 cups / 10 1/2oz
salt 1 teaspoon
butter, cold, 150g / 1 1/4 sticks / 5 1/4 ounces
egg yolks 2
cold water 2 tablespoons

For the glaze
organic egg yolk 1
milk 1 tablespoon
a pinch of salt

Combine the flour with the salt. Cut the butter into the flour with a knife until there are just little pieces left. Continue with your fingers and quickly rub the butter into the flour. Add the eggs and water and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form 2 discs, dividing them roughly 2:1, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

 

The pie

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (top/ bottom heat).

Whisk the egg yolk, milk and salt for the glaze.

Take the dough out of the freezer and roll out both discs between cling film, the bigger piece (about 32cm / 12 1/2″) for the bottom and the smaller one as the lid for the pie.

Line the bottom and sides of the spring form pan. Spread 1/3 of the pasta mixed with the tomato sauce on top of the pastry, sprinkle with 1/3 of the parmesan and cover with a layer of aubergine (let the slices overlap a little). Continue with a second layer of pasta (1/3), sprinkle with parmesan (1/3) and cover with the zucchini. Finish with the remaining pasta, cheese and vegetables (if there are some left). Close with the smaller pastry lid and gently push the rim with your fingers to seal the pie. Brush the top with the egg glaze and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the cheese.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes before you turn the heat down to 175°C / 350°F and bake for another 50 minutes or until the pie is golden and baked through. Let the pie cool for at least 15 minutes before you cut it into pieces.

Timpana

 

Timpana

 

Timpana

 

Timpana

 

timpana8

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