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Saturday, December 17, 2011


Among the many dishes on the table at Christmas time, I add this inviting TIMBALLO made with pasta and eggplant.

All photos - Copyright - ©2011 - La Casa e Il Giardino – picasaweb

Curiosity:  The dish gets its name from an ancient percussion instrument, the drum, which was inspired by a cylindrical container where the dish originally was cooked.

Varieties of timballo differ from region to region. Sometimes it’s known as a bomba, tortino sartu (a Neapolitan version) or pasticcio.  Simply, it's an Italian molded dish, typically with pasta or rice with filling of meat or vegetables.  Although there are many versions of timballo, I like the timballo with pasta and melanzane ( eggplant).

The dish is prepared in a dome.  I use a springform pan. 

1/2 lb. pasta (I use Ziti Rigati)
2 small eggplants
2 cups of tomato purée,
1 shallot
1 cup grated provolone
4 oz. butter
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Sprig of parsley (minced)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Wash and mince parsley leaves.  Wash the eggplants and cut into small chunks.  Place the eggplant pieces in a colander and under press to eliminate water.  Add some salt and leave under press for 30 minutes.  Remove the eggplant pieces, rinse, dry and fry in olive oil.  Remove and place on paper towels.

Mince the shallot and saute' in a thread of olive oil.  Add the tomato purée, eggplant and parsley.  Mix well and cook for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the maccheroni in salted water.  Drain and mix with tomato sauce.  Butter the springform pan or mold.  Cover with breadcrumbs.  Distribute half of the pasta into the pan or mold.  Add grated provolone.  Add other half of the pasta and remaining provolone.

Bake the timballo for 30 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven.  Remove and let it rest for 5. 

If a mold is used, run a knife around the edge of timballo to loosen, then invert a platter over mold and invert timballo onto platter.   Remove mold and it's ready to serve.

If a springform pan is used, run a knife around the edge of timballo to loosen and remove the springform pan.