3 CHEESE bean ham POTATO timballo

Gorgeous scenery out my window made me realize that...
a view like this can't be taken for granted.

I stopped what I was doing and took a dedicated moment to...
appreciate what Mother nature blessed us with today.

One of my favourite winter meals is a potato timballo that Mom calls 'Pizza Patate'.
Growing up, my ongoing love for mashed potato made winter somewhat bearable.
Mom would make her dish simply with milk and butter induced mashed potatoes...
some Mozzarella, ham and a sprinkle of Italian bread crumbs...and that was it.

I remember coming home from school and arriving to Mom peeling potatoes...
wondering which of her favourite dishes I was going to sink my teeth in:
Shepherd's pie or her delectable 'Pizza Patate'
Either way, she made me look forward to finishing off my dreaded homework.
Strangely, that meal would somehow make me choose it over dessert.
Now, that's saying something since my middle name is 'sweet tooth'.

Am I still a potato addict?...I sooo believe that I am.
Just as I keep in check how many pasta dishes pass my calendar...
so do I keep tabs on how many times potatoes partake at our table.

It would be so easy not to be concerned about weight issues...
I'd have potatoes in a multitude of forms every day if I could.
Not that I don't appreciate making Mom's recipe...
I do feel there was lacking a little something like more fiber perhaps.

Why not amp up the cheese selection and frill up the mashed potatoes.
Here's my new take on Mom's cherished go-to week night meal.

3 CHEESE bean ham POTATO timballo

serves 4 generous portions


(American measures)

. 2 cups cooked ham, diced
. 1 can of Red kidney beans, well rinsed
. 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, sliced in sticks
. 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
. 1 cup Friulano cheese (or mild Provolone), grated
Potato mash:
. 6 large Russet potatoes, peeled
. 1 Tbsp. sea salt
. 3 dried Laurier leaves
. 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
. 2 Tbsps. Dijon mustard
. 1/4 cup unsalted butter
. 1/4 cup e.v.Olive oil
. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
. 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic powder
. 1/4 tsp. each dried herbs: basil, marjoram, rosemary, tarragon

. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
. Position the rack in the center of the oven
. Generously butter a 9x9inch heat proof casserole dish.
Potato mash:
. In a very large pot, place the peeled, whole potatoes at the base.  Add the salt, Laurier leaves and the stock.  Add enough water to just surpass the potatoes by 1 inch.  Cover the pot and bring the potatoes to the boiling stage (about 8-10 minutes).  Reduce the heat to MEDIUM-LOW and cook for another 25 minutes or until fork tender.
. Prepare a very large bowl with the Dijon mustard, butter and oil placed at the base.
. Remove the Laurier leaves and with a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes into the bowl.  Begin mashing the potatoes before gradually adding in enough hot stock to realize a thick, smooth potato mash to your liking.  With a solid spatula, add and fold in the dried herbs and spices.  Note: the little remaining stock can serve for another recipe later on.  For example: a small soup, part of stock for a Risotto etc.
. At the bottom of the prepared dish, spoon in and spread a thick layer of mashed potatoes, followed by a layer of ham, the mix of three cheeses and then the beans.  Repeat two more times finishing off with a layer of potatoes.  With the spatula, indent a few waves on the surface of the mashed potatoes.
. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.  Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

Don't forget to honour family recipes, although making them your...
own will hopefully please your loved ones as well.

Here's to not taking Mother Nature for granted and wishing...
you all a fantastic and fruitful New Year going forward.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.