Timballo, also known as timpano or timbale, is a traditional Italian baked pasta dish that is both visually impressive and delicious. It is a layered casserole often encased in a crust of pasta or pastry. There are various regional variations of Timballo, but here’s a basic recipe for Timballo di Pasta:


For the Crust (optional):

  • 1 pound (450g) shortcrust pastry or thinly rolled pasta sheets

For the Filling:

  • 1 pound (450g) penne or rigatoni pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound (450g) ground beef or a mix of ground meats
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup diced mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • Butter, for greasing the mold


  1. Prepare the Crust (if using):
    • If using a pastry crust, roll out the shortcrust pastry or pasta sheets and line a greased and buttered round or oval mold, leaving excess dough hanging over the edges.
  2. Cook Pasta:
    • Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. Prepare Filling:
    • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the chopped onion until softened.
    • Add the ground meat and cook until browned. Pour in the white wine and let it evaporate.
    • Stir in the tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  4. Assemble the Timballo:
    • In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta with the meat sauce, diced mozzarella, grated Parmesan, chopped basil, and beaten eggs. Mix well to coat the pasta evenly.
  5. Fill the Mold:
    • Transfer the pasta mixture into the lined mold, pressing it down gently.
  6. Close the Crust (if using):
    • If using a crust, fold overhanging dough over the top to encase the filling. Seal the edges.
  7. Bake:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake the Timballo in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  8. Cool and Serve:
    • Allow the Timballo to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. It can be served warm or at room temperature.

Timballo is a delightful dish that showcases the comforting flavors of pasta, meat, and cheese. Feel free to customize the filling based on your preferences, incorporating ingredients like hard-boiled eggs, peas, or cured meats.

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