Fresh Scamorza Cheese CasseroleClick to Play

Fresh Scamorza Cheese Casserole

Mary Ann Esposito

Call it a timpani or timballo, it all comes down to a molded and baked affair that contains ingredients like rice, pasta, potatoes, eggs, or bread as a binder. Naples is famous for its timpani made with thick pasta, tiny meatballs and peas. Emilia Romagna is famous for its bomba, a type of timpani made with rice, a luscious cream sauce, mushrooms, ham, and exotic truffles. Impressive, yes, and time consuming to make. This simple timballo, made with bread, eggs, cheese and salami, takes its inspiration from southern Italy and takes minutes to prepare. It can be assembled ahead of time, is perfect as a brunch or buffet offering, and is even good cold as a leftover. Critical to the success of the dish is the quality of the bread; use a good semolina or sourdough type. Scamorza is a mozzarella cheese that is smoked or unsmoked.

Serves 8

Ingredients

21 slices of semolina or sourdough bread, 1/2-inch thick  (About a pound)
8 large eggs
Salt to taste
Grinding black pepper
1 -  1/2 cups milk
1/4 pound salami or soppressata, thinly sliced and cut in half
12 ounces scamorza cheese, smoked or unsmoked, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons butter, cut into bits

Directions

Brush an 8 x 13 x 2-inch deep casserole dish with olive oil and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat them with a whisk until foamy. Whisk in the milk, salt and pepper.

Lay the bread slices in a single layer on each of two rimmed baking sheets.

Divide and pour the egg mixture over the slices and allow them to soak and absorb the mixture.

Use a wide spatula to lift the bread slices and make a single layer of 7 slices in the casserole; do not worry if there are gaps. Top with half of the salami and half of the cheese. Make a second layer like the first. Top with the last layer of bread and dot the top with the butter. Place a sheet of wax paper over the top and press it with your hands to compress the bread slices. Remove and discard the wax paper.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. Cut into squares and serve hot or at room temperature.

This recipe is featured on show 2120 - Handmade Fresh Cheese.

item recipe is featured in Episode 2120 of Season 21.

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