Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Anna Sultana's Timballo with Pastry - Pasta Casserole, Maltese Style

I posted Ma’s Timpana recipe two years ago.
If you’re avoiding carbs, don’t go there.
Timpana is a pie filled with pasta, not fruit.
Timpana is a salute to carbs.
And so good!!

A few months ago I posted Ma’s recipe for Timballo.
If you’re trying to cut back on the carbs, this is a good choice.
It has pasta, but instead of pastry, the pasta is covered with eggplant.

As with most Maltese recipes, there are Timballo variations.
One variation is a mix of Timpana and Timballo. 
Really… Timpana with eggplant.
How perfect is that?

Hints:

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.

In a rush?
Roll out
2 400 g packages of flaky or puff pastry
Line the bottom and sides of a baking dish with 2/3 of the pastry.
Pour in the macaroni sauce mixture.
Cover the top with the remaining pastry and decorate with trimmings.
Add the egg wash for a nice gloss.

If you don’t have veal, a mixture of the pork and beef will be fine.
Or you can use either alone.


                        Timbale

Serves 6 to 8

For the pastry:

In a large mixer bowl place
3 3/4 Cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 Cup + 3 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes 
Beat until crumbly.
Add 
2 eggs
Mix well.
Add 
1/4 Cup milk, about - enough to make a firm ball of dough.
Let the dough rest.

For the filling:

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
Add
1 pound macaroni
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta, run it under cold water, drain again and set aside.

Wash and trim the ends from
2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound)
Slice them lengthwise, about 1/4 inch thick.
Place the slices in a colander or on a large cookie sheet.
Sprinkle them with 
salt
Let drain for 30 minutes to remove bitterness.
Preheat the oven to 350º F
Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry.
Place them on the cookie sheets.
Lightly coat the slices with extra virgin olive oil.
Bake them for 10 minutes at 350º F  
Set them aside.

While the eggplant is baking, slice
1 pound mozzarella
Set aside.

For the sauce:

In a dutch oven pour
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Add
5 cloves garlic, chopped finely
Stirring constantly, fry until the garlic is lightly browned.
Add
1 1/2 pounds ground meat (a mixture of beef, pork and veal)
Fry until lightly browned.
Remove excess fat.
Add
1/2 Cup white wine
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley (1 Tablespoon dry)
2 Cups peas
1 28 ounce can tomatoes, chopped
Cover and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves.
Stir the pasta into the meat sauce.

For the assembly:

Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan
Roll out 2/3 of the pastry into a circle about 1/4 inch thick.
Line the bottom and the sides of the pan with the pastry.
Trim and remove any dough hanging over the sides.
Line the sides of the pan with most of the eggplant slices, allowing them to hang over the sides. 
Cover the bottom of the pan with eggplant slices.
Add a layer each of
mozzarella
pasta
eggplant 
mozzarella
pasta 
mozzarella
Flip over the filling the eggplant that is hanging from the sides of the pan.

Roll out the remaining pastry into a circle about 1/4 inch thick.
Place the circle of dough over the pan to cover the Timballo
Trim and remove any excess dough.
Using either your fingers or a fork, seal the side and top dough edges together.
Decorate the top of the Timballo with the dough trimmings.

Pre-heat the oven to 350º F

In a cup beat
1 egg
Brush the beaten egg over the top crust.
Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until nicely browned.
Allow to cool 15 minutes.

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


Want to avoid the pastry?
Ma’s Imqarrun il-forn (Baked Macaroni, Maltese Style) is also delicious.

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