Charming mountain towns and a wild seemingly endless coastline... Molise is a tiny region and quite possibly Italy’s best kept secret. This dish represents the rustic elegance of this mountainous southern region.
Timballo di cicoria is a layered savory dish with chicory, prosciutto and tomato, with a crunchy golden breadcrumb top. I love to serve it with a few olives either on the side or in a little bowl.
- 2-3 bunches chicory (see Note)
- 1½ tbsp (30 ml) butter
- ½ cup stale breadcrumbs, finely ground in a food processor
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 cups grated scamorza cheese (see Note)
- 3 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 200 g (7 oz) thinly sliced prosciutto
- 5 eggs, whisked
- 1 cup grated pecorino, plus more for serving
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time: 10 minutes
1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a 20 cm (8 in) springform pan with parchment paper. Mist or grease parchment paper with oil.
2. Chop off woody ends of chicory. Clean and slice chicory into 2.5 cm (1 in) pieces. Boil in salted water for 6 minutes. Drain, then squeeze as much moisture out of the chicory as possible. Transfer to refrigerator to chill.
3. Heat butter in skillet over medium heat and add breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring, until breadcrumbs are toasted. Remove from heat.
4. Mix the chicory with salt and pepper.
5. In the springform pan, create layers in the following order:
- place half of the chicory in the bottom of the pan
- then half of the grated scamorza cheese
- then the tomato slices
- then half of the sliced prosciutto
- then the remaining half of the chicory
- then the remaining half of the grated scamorza cheese
- top with the remaining half of the sliced prosciutto
6. Pour the whisked eggs evenly over the entire pan. Toss the toasted breadcrumbs with grated pecorino and sprinkle an even layer of the mixture over the top.
7. Bake for 30-40 minutes or timbale is cooked through and breadcrumbs are golden and toasted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Remove sides of pan from springform. Slice wedges and serve. Buon appetito!
• The Italian chicory used here is a leafy green that becomes more bitter as it gets older. It looks like thick-stemmed dandelion.
• Scamorza is a southern Italian stretched-curd cheese, most commonly made from cow’s milk, that’s a little like mozzarella. It melts particularly well. Buy it from specialist retailers.