Festive Timbale — Timbale festive


Timbale au basilic et asperges vertes et ses crevettes flambées au cognac – Cognac Flambéed Shrimps with Basil and Asparagus Timbale

What a long long title for a recipe! I suppose there are people that just have the skills to find the appropriate title, and obviously not moi! Pitiful!

To participate in the Paper Chef #16 organized by Tomatilla, the rule was the following: Use 4 ingredients, basil, shrimps, verjuice and something inspired by the movies.

My inspiration went with the Oscars ceremony and the Olympics, both star-like events.

And what inspired me you wonder?

For the Olympics, the flame was my ingredient.

For the movies, the ring mold in order to present the dish just like a star under a projector.

More details:

  • Spaghetti

I decided to use spaghetti as a main ingredient because I just never get tired of eating them.

  • Ring mold

Spaghetti are simply delicious eaten plain in a bowl, with a dash of olive oil, some parmesan cheese and chopped basil. But we can also do better. Unusual is to stack them high and tall, appearing just like a real star.

  • The flame

What better choice than to flambée shrimps with cognac?

Our plan was the following: Eat the dish while watching the Oscars and drink more cognac as the show unfolds. We never knew what could happen! Luckily John Stewart was a great entertainment for lack of any spark in the show itself. But we knew that. No surprise.

I used basil, shrimps, cognac (instead of verjuice), I flambéed the shrimps and I assembled the dish with a ring mold, and this is how.

Shrimp Spaghetti and Asparagus Pesto

You need:

  • Spaghetti (I used about 12.5 oz dry for 4 people)
  • 10.5 oz green asparagus
  • 1 lb shrimps
  • 1/2 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp cognac
  • 4.5 tbsp butter
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • Dash of fruity olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fleur de sel


To make the shrimps:

  • Start by cleaning the shrimps (remove heads and shells) ; keep a few intact for decoration.
  • Take a frying pan and melt 1.5 tbsp butter. When hot, add 1 chopped garlic clove.
  • Cook for 1 mn on medium to low heat without turning it brown, then add the shrimps and bring the heat to high. Cook until the shrimps are pink on all sides (only a few mns).
  • Away from heat and quickly, add the cognac and flambée the shrimps. Return to the stove and set aside, keeping them warm.

To prepare the vegetables and pesto:

  • Clean the asparagus (remove the end parts).
  • Blanch them for a few mns, then rinse under cold water. Cut the tips that you keep for the dish itself and keep the stems for the pesto.
  • In a food processor, mix together the 3 remaining garlic cloves, the basil, 3 tbsp of butter (soft), the pine nuts, a dash of Maldon sea salt, pepper and the asparagus stems.
  • Keep on the side.

To finish the dish:

  • Grate your parmesan cheese.
  • Cook your spaghetti Al Dente, as indicated on your package.
  • Take a large bowl and mix together the spaghetti with the pesto sauce and parmesan. Keep 2 tbsp of the pesto for decoration.
  • Take a plate and place a ring mold in the middle.
  • Start by placing spaghetti twirled around your fingers at the bottom, 2/3 to the top.
  • Add a layer of shrimps.
  • Finish with spaghetti and some pesto sauce on top.
  • Decorate with a few shrimps and asparagus.
  • Sprinkle with a dash of olive oil, fleur de sel (a touch that I simply love), a few roasted pine nuts and serve.
Posted in Fish, Grains


  1. Sssssuperbe, magnifique, j’adorerai trouver ça dans mon assiette ….
    Ton blog is very beautiful, les photos sont magnifiques, bravo !!!

  2. Omigod, Béa, this is so beautiful…! I’m going to try this technique soon! Some questions…at what point in the assembly of the dish do you remove the ring mold? And what are the dimensions of your ring mold? I saw a guy in a shop making risotto cakes with a ring mold that was just a piece of 4″ PVC pipe…but yours looks a little narrower than that, and it must be several inches high, judging by your picture…anyway, so beautiful, I’m sure it tasted great!

  3. Bonjour Manue,
    Merci bien du compliment! Ravie que cela te plaise!

    Thanks, I wish! 😉

    OOishigal, merci de passer à nouveau!

    Gustad Mody, Trinidad and MM,
    Thank you! Merci!

    Thanks for stopping by. I use the ring mold almost until the end. I remove it before placing shrimps and asparagus on top. As to the size, I used a 2 by 3 inch ring. Nicer looking! Let me know how it goes, it is pretty easy!!

    It was not bad! 😉

  4. This looks great – like it deserves an oscar itself! I love the pictures on your site and your presentation of everything! It’s very inspiring.

  5. Both this and the mango tart below are picture perfect and your photographs are excellent. The timbale’s color is perfect for spring. Truly beautiful.

  6. Hi Kat,

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Michelle, thank you for stopping. I am glad you enjoyed the visit and hope to see you again! 😉 Yes yes, I want the oscar ahahah.

    Julie, thank you very much!

  7. Bea, I’m so hungry after reading your blog this morning I think I’m going to faint. Simply stunning!

  8. This looks pretty and spring-like, Bea. And I really really dislike shrimps, so that’s something:)

  9. That’s really striking. All your photos are beautiful. I’m having fun seeing everyone’s takes on this Paper Chef. Congratulations on your prize!

  10. I was looking for a recipe for risotto timbale and came across your website. what a wonderful idea, layering twisted spaghetti and shrimp! The ideas are endless for my vegan friends! Thanks

  11. Looks delicious! Can you please specify exactly how much basil you used? The recipe calls for 1/2 fresh basil, is that 1/2 a bunch or 1/2 a cup? Thanks!