Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Anna Sultana's Timpana - Pasta Casserole, Maltese Style

Got a few e mails asking when I was going to post recipes again.
Especially Ma's recipes.
So, it's time to get away from my least favourite room.
To be honest, I was looking for any excuse to take a break.
How do you think it became my least favourite room?

Back in 2010, when I started comparing Carmela Soprano's recipes to what Ma cooked, I was a little carefree about giving actual recipes.
Actually, I was sloppy.
For example, in February, 2010, I compared Carmela's Baked Ziti to Ma's Timpana.
Looking back at it, I apologize.

Back then my posts were full of stuff like
The closest thing to Carmela's Ziti, comfort-wise, was Timpana. It also called for pasta, some cheese and meat. The sauce was tomato, naturally. The boiled pasta was mixed into the tomato meat sauce. A few raw eggs were added to up the protein and the cholesterol.

Ah, but then the Maltese touch was added.

Maltese cooking is heavy on simple carbs. Maltese go beyond simple into downright retarded. A pan filled with macaroni is not enough starch. Oh, no. What makes a Timpana unique is it is baked like an apple pie.

Sure, I had basically explained what Timpana is.
But I didn't give an actual recipe.
Until now.

About the macaroni…
Usually Ma used ziti.
Sometimes penne.
In a pinch, elbow.
You want something that can be filled by the sauce. 
Spaghetti would just lay there.
Not a good thing.

About the tomato paste...
If you like a stronger tomato flavour, use the whole can.
Hey, it's your timpana.


In a dutch oven pour
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
Fry until lightly browned.
200 grams (about 1/2 pound) ground beef
200 grams (about 1/2 pound) ground pork
Cook for about 3 minutes.
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
250 ml (about 1 Cup) chicken or beef stock
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Season with
salt and pepper to taste.

While the sauce is simmering, in a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
400 grams (about 1 pound) macaroni
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta well and add it to the sauce in the dutch oven.

4 large eggs
Mix them into the sauced macaroni.
Add to the macaroni
100 grams (about 1/4 Cup) Parmesan cheese
Stir everything together.

Preheat oven to 350ยบ           

Roll out
400 g flaky or puff pastry
Line the bottom and sides of a baking dish with 3/4 of the pastry.
Pour in the macaroni sauce mixture.
Cover the top with the remaining pastry.
Brush the top of the pastry with
1 beaten egg (or milk)
Prick the top pastry with a fork.
Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on depth of pan.

Timpana is best served hot.
But it is also delicious cold and is great for picnics.

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