TIMBALLO di POLPETTE
Neapolitan Meatball / Rice Timbale
This is a great little antipasto item they make in Naples, and places along the Amalfi Coast. It’s an excellent dish to serve, preceding a fish, meat, or pasta course of any type, especially pasta with mussels or Spaghetti Vongole. This makes a great buffet or picnic lunch item with frittata, salumi, cheese, and fruit to go along in your picnic basket. As we’ve said, one of these timballo makes a wonderful antipasto, or you can serve two or three on a plate for a nice hearty main-course.
I also suggest, if you like, double the size of the meatball recipe below, to make a larger batch, if you want some leftover meatballs to make Meatball Sandwiches the next day, or serve one timballo on a plate with 3 or 4 meatballs for another great alternative main-course dish.
1 pound Arborio Rice
1 small Onion, peeled and diced fine
3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup Tomato Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Salt
12 ounces ground Beef
1 large Egg
1/2 teaspoon each of Salt & Black Black Pepper
1/2 cup Breadcrumbs mixed with 1/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1/4 cup Italian Parsley, chopped fine
Vegetable Oil for Frying Meatballs
1/4 cup Flour
NOTE : Bake these Timballi in a standard Muffin Pan, or individual molds if you have them. Grease your muffin pan (or molds) with softened butter.
FILLING INGREDIENTS :
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1/2 cup Provolone or Caciocavallo Cheese
1/c cup Boiled Ham, diced
In a large mixing bowl, add the ground Beef, Salt & Black Pepper, grated Parmigiano, chopped Parlsey, breadcrumbs, and Egg, mix until well incorporated.
Shape the beef mixture into small meatballs, a bit smaller than a Walnut and place on a dry sheet pan. Once all the meat has been formed into small meatballs, take each meatball and dredge in the flour to coat lightly. Shake off excess flour and place the meatball back on the pan. Repeat until all the meatballs have been coated with the flour.
Pour the vegetable oil into a non-stick pan, and heat over high heat until the oil is at frying temp. Cook the meatballs in two batches over medium-high heat. Brown meatballs on all sides, then place on pan with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
Set meatballs aside to cool.
Rice Preparation :
Fill a large pot with the Olive Oil and chopped Onion and cook on medium heat for 4 minutes. Add rice and 1/2 teaspoon Salt and cook for 2 minutes on low heat. Add 2 quarts of water and bring to the boil. Cook the rice at a medium simmer for 12 minutes. Drain rice in a wire strainer or colander.
Let the rice cool for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon of White Pepper to the rice and mix. Add 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano to rice and mix. Add 1 cup Tomato Sauce to rice and mix.
Meanwhile butter the molds and set aside.
Form a layer of rice at the base and in the edges and press with the back of the spoon, place the ham in the center, the Provolone and a Meatball, a little tomato sauce and a bit of Parmesan, cover with rice.
Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 18 minutes.
As the timballi are baking, heat remaining tomato sauce.
Remove from the oven to cool for 5 minutes, gently flip on a plate.
Place a little tomato sauce on a plate, place one Timballo on top of sauce, then garnish with a nice Basil Flower for each. Serve your guests.