As followers of Stanley Tucci’s directorial debut, Huge Evening, will know, “timpano is a pasta with a particular crust, formed like a drum … and inside are … all crucial issues on this planet”. Extra generally referred to as a timballo, its movie star beauty additionally pop up in Luchino Visconti’s 1963 adaptation of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard. May its subsequent outing be in your dinner desk?
Prep 20 min
Prepare dinner 1 hr 45 min
Value About 70p a head
2 tbsp olive oil, plus additional for greasing and frying
3 giant aubergines
Salt and black pepper
1 fats garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 pinch chilli flakes (non-compulsory)
700ml passata, or tinned tomatoes, whizzed
1 bunch contemporary basil, leaves and stalks separated
1 tsp sugar, or balsamic vinegar (non-compulsory)
50g parmesan, pecorino or vegetarian different, grated
500g dried pasta – rigatoni, macaroni, anelli or comparable work effectively
250g mozzarella, drained
1 Pastry or aubergine shell?
Frivolously grease a deep baking dish or cake tin about 20cm in diameter. Be aware, Tucci’s household timballo, the recipe for which is in his guide Style: A Life By Meals, and simply discovered on-line, has a traditional pastry crust, however I’ve gone for a lighter Sicilian timballo di melanzane, which has an aubergine shell.
2 Slice and salt the aubergines
Slice the aubergines about ½cm thick (I like to chop them into rounds, as a result of I feel they appear prettier, however lengthy strips are simpler to work with, so it’s as much as you) and sprinkle very evenly with advantageous salt. Go away to take a seat in a colander for at the least half-hour. (This stage is non-compulsory, but it surely does give the aubergines a greater flavour.)
3 Begin the sauce
Whereas they’re salting, make the sauce. Pour the 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a big saucepan on a medium warmth. Add the garlic and chilli flakes, if utilizing, and fry, stirring, for a minute. Add the passata, wash out the bottle with a bit water, and add that to the pan, too.
4 End off the sauce
Carry to a simmer, then flip down the warmth, add the basil stems (put aside the leaves for now), season with a bit salt and cook dinner gently for about half-hour, till the sauce is pretty thick. Fish out and discard the basil stems, style and season, including the sugar if vital.
Stir within the grated cheese and the basil leaves.
5 Fry the aubergines
Fill a frying pan with about 1cm oil and put it on a excessive warmth. As soon as sizzling, fry the aubergines in batches till they’re floppy and evenly golden on either side, then drain on a plate or tray lined with kitchen paper. Make sure that the pan comes again as much as temperature earlier than including one other batch, so the aubergines don’t take in an excessive amount of oil.
6 Par-cook the pasta
Gently reheat the sauce. Prepare dinner the pasta in salted boiling water till very al dente – about 4 minutes lower than the recommended cooking time – then drain effectively, tip into the sauce and cook dinner for one more minute. Take off the warmth and activate the oven to 180C (160C)/350F/gasoline 4.
7 Line and fill the tin
Securely wrap the bottom of a loose-bottomed cake tin in foil and put it inside a bigger baking tin in case of leakage. Use the aubergine slices to line all the insides of the tin, arranging them so that they overlap the rim.
Tip half the pasta combine into the aubergine casing, then tear (or lower) the mozzarella into items and scatter these in a layer on prime. Add the remaining pasta.
8 Bake the timballo
Fold the overhanging slices of aubergine excessive of the filling, and fill in any uncovered patches with the remaining aubergine (you might have leftovers, however that’s higher than risking a patchy timballo). Cowl the highest with foil (you can also make it prematurely as much as this stage), then bake for 45 minutes. Take away and depart to relaxation and funky to heat or room temperature.
Put a serving dish or board on prime of the timballo, then flip over, unclip and launch.
9 Variations on the theme
It is a very adaptable dish: in addition to the mozzarella, you could possibly additionally add layers of meatballs, ham or salami, sliced hard-boiled eggs, cooked seafood, roast greens, sauteed mushrooms or greens. Primarily, absolutely anything you assume will pair effectively with tomatoey pasta will work right here. Simply make sure that any greens are cooked, so that they don’t make issues go soggy.