Timballo Teramano | Italian Lasagna Recipe
This lasagna variation hails from the Italian region of Abruzzo. It's unusual in that it uses egg crepes instead of the pasta layers used in a traditional lasagna.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
Makes a 10-inch timballo.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 20 oz. (565g) pork loin, cut into large chunks
- 3 pork spare ribs
- Fresh black pepper
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves
- 1 stalk celery, cut into 3-4 pieces
- 1/3 large carrot, cut into 3-4 pieces
- 24 oz. (680g) pure tomato purée
- 6 oz. (170g) ground beef
- 6 oz. (170g) ground pork
- 1 oz. (28g) grated pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for grating
- 9 large eggs
- About 3 oz. (85g) dry bread crumbs, adjusted to taste (see below)
- Oil for frying
- 1 2/3 cup (200g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 white onion, chopped
- 1 cup (100g) frozen peas
- 6 oz. (170g) chopped mozzarella, or to taste
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
Begin by making the ragù. Bring 4 tbsp olive oil up to medium/high temperature in a large stock pot. Add the pork loin and spare ribs. Cook, turning often, until browned on all sides. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Add the white wine, basil, celery and carrot. Lower the heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the smell of alcohol has dissipated. Add the tomato purée and 1 1/2 cups (355ml) water. Bring to a simmer again and cook for 2-3 hours, or until it thickens into a sauce. Salt to taste as it nears completion. Turn off the heat and set aside.
While the ragù cooks, prepare the meatballs. In a bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork and grated cheese with 1 egg and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add about half of the bread crumbs and begin mixing by hand. Continue to add bread crumbs until the mixture is soft but not too wet or sticky.
Rub a little olive oil on your hands and roll the meat into marble-sized balls. Set aside on a plate.
Fill a large pan with 1-2 inches of frying oil (we use olive oil but feel free to substitute according to your preference) and bring up to medium/high temperature. To test the oil, drop in a bread crumb. If it begins to immediately bubble, the oil is hot enough to fry.
Working in batches, drop the meatballs in and fry until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Transfer into a large mixing bowl and set aside for later.
Time to make the crepes! In a large bowl, combine 6 eggs, a generous grating of pecorino, 1 tbsp olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the all-purpose flour. For best results, we recommend sifting the flour before adding it. Whisk all together into a thick, pasty mixture. Finally, whisk in 200ml (slightly less than 1 cup) of water.
Bring a good, non-stick pan up to medium/high temperature on the stovetop. Add 1 large ladle of the egg mixture into the pan and swirl it around to form a circular crepe. Don't worry if it takes a few tries to get the technique down! You can always use imperfect scraps to fill in holes and gaps later on.
When the crepe is fully cooked on the first side (which doesn't take long, about a minute), flip it to cook the other. Remove and set aside for later. Repeat until you have cooked all of the crepe mixture.
After making the crepes, bring 1 tbsp olive oil up to medium temperature in a small saucepan. Add the chopped white onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is tender and slightly transparent. Add the frozen peas, a pinch of salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup (60ml) water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the excess moisture has thickened completely. Add the peas into the mixing bowl with the meatballs.
Remove the meat from the ragù and chop it. It should be soft enough that you can shred it by hand if you prefer. Discard the rib bones. Add the shredded meat into the bowl with the meatballs and peas, along with 1 tbsp butter, a generous grating of pecorino, and the chopped mozzarella. Mix all together thoroughly.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175C).
Grease a 10-inch springform mold (about 3 inches tall) with a pat of butter. Line the sides and bottom of the mold with overlapping crepes. The crepes should drape over the top of the dish so that they can be folded inward later on. Be sure to give the timballo a nice, solid bottom layer.
Spread a thin layer of ragù along the bottom, followed by a thick layer of the meat mixture. Top this with a grating of pecorino and cover with another layer of crepe. Repeat these steps until the timballo is layered up to the brim of the dish. Finish with a final layer of crepe.
In a bowl, combine 2 eggs with the milk. Whisk together. Insert a thin knife 8-10 times into the top of the timballo, poking it down to the very bottom of the dish. Use a spoon to pour all of the egg/milk mixture into these holes.
Fold the overhanging crepes inward to close the timballo and finish it with one more crepe on top. Over this, spread a little bit of butter followed by a brushing of ragù sauce.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake a further 30 minutes, or until the top has become crispy and slightly browned.
Let the timballo cool for 30 minutes before serving. Buon appetito!