Tricolour Timballini


serves 4
15 g (1/2 oz) 1 tbsp butter or margarine, softened
60 g (2 oz) 1/2 cup dried white breadcrumbs
175 g (6 oz) tricolour spaghetti
300 ml (1/2 pint) 1 1/4 cups Bechamel Sauce (see below)
1 egg yolk
125 g (4 oz) 1 cup Gruyere (Swiss) cheese, grated
salt and pepper
fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish


2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
1 bay leaf
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup dry white wine
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup passatta (sieved tomatoes)
1 tbsp tomato puree (paste)


1. Grease four 180 ml (6 fl oz) 3/4 cup moulds or ramekins with the butter or margarine. Evenly coat the insides with half the breadcrumbs.

2. Break the spaghetti into 5 cm/2 inch lengths. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti for 5-6 minutes until just tender. Drain well and put in a bowl.

3. Mix the bechamel sauce, egg yolk, cheese and seasoning into the cooked pasta and pack into the moulds.

4. Sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs and put on a baking sheet (cookie sheet). Bake in a preheated oven, 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7, for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion and bay leaf for 2 - 3 minutes until just softened.

6. Stir in the wine, passata, tomato puree (paste) and seasoning. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until thickened. Discard the bay leaf.

7. Run a palette knife (spatula) around the inside of the moulds or ramekins. Turn on to serving plates, garnish and serve with the tomato sauce.

bechamel sauce

300 ml (1/2 pint)1 1/4 cups milk
2 bay leaves
3 cloves
1 small onion
60 g (2 oz) 1/4 cup butter, plus extra for greasing
45 g (1 1/2 oz) 6 tbsp flour
300 ml (1/2 pint) 1 1/4 cups single (light) cream
large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

1. Pour the milk into a small pan and add the bay leaves. Press the cloves into the onion, add to the pan and bring the milk to the boil. Remove from the heat and set it aside to cool.

2. Strain the milk into a jug and rinse the pan. Melt the butter in the pan and stir in the flour. Stir for 1 minute, then gradually pour on the milk, stirring constantly.

3. Cook the sauce for 3 minutes, then pour on the cream and bring it to the boil Remove from the heat and season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

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