Timballo di Maccheroni alla Napoletana or perhaps, a moda di Giuseppe – there is no other way to describe this Neapolitan delight than OMG, this is soooooo good!

One of the rare, or shall I say the first Cucina Aristocratica Napoletana recipes to grace these pages, its name comes from the French word timbale, meaning kettledrum.

The gastronomical “it” dish of the 18th and 19th century nobility, it’s a pastry lined drum filled with a creamy mixture of pasta, meat, vegetables, and cheese. The choice of  ingredients are as always, as diverse as the cook.

The pasta, long spaghetti-like hollowed out tubes of Bucatini. Two sauces, a Béchamel sauce and a meat sauce or Ragù. A generous helping of Parmigiano cheese. And if that’s not enough to wet your appetite, this decadent mixture is then encased in delicate shell of buttery, flaky, melt in your mouth puff pastry.

A dish by any other name, aka Timpano, the dish that had a starring role in the 1996 movie Big Night, is still Timballo.

So did we make a leaning tower of Timballo? Not exactly, but Giuseppe certainly cooked up a heaping helping of this favorite Neapolitan pasta and meat pie.

Ingredients

500 Grams Ground Beef or Pork
1 Medium Onion
10 Cherry Tomatoes
1 Small Jar of Peas
500 Grams Bucatini Pasta
200 ml Béchamel Sauce
200 Grams Grated Parmigiano
2 Puff Pastry Sheets
1 Egg Yolk
Olive Oil
White Wine
Butter
Salt and Pepper

Method

Make the Sauce

Chop the onion and halve the tomatoes
Generously coat the bottom of a large pot in Olive Oil
Heat the oil and saute the onions until soft and translucent
Add the ground meat and saute until the meat is cooked
Add a few splashes of white wine and the tomatoes
Add salt and pepper to taste
Cook on medium-high heat 15 – 20 minutes until the sauce reduces
Drain the peas and stir them into the mixture

  
Cooking the Bucatini
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Adding the Parmigiano to the Bucatini
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Making the Timballo mixture
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While the sauce is cooking, boil the water for the pasta
Add salt and cook the pasta al dente or a little less (the pasta will cook more in the oven)
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot
Add the Béchamel Sauce and mix well
Add about half of the Parmigiano cheese and stir through
Ladle in the sauce mixture a little at a time, stirring well after each addition of the sauce

  
Brush the crust with egg yolk
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Cooking with Giuseppe, Timballo di Maccheroni alla Napoletana
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Cooking with Giuseppe, Timballo di Maccheroni alla Napoletana
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Grease a large springform pan with butter
Line the pan with a puff pastry sheet
Fill the pan with the pasta and sauce mixture
Sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano cheese on top
Top with fresh ground black pepper
Cover with the second puff pastry sheet and trim and pinch the edges
Brush the top with an egg yolk
Lightly cover with baking parchment paper
Bake at 180° C for 25 – 30 minutes
Remove the paper and bake about 10 minutes more until the crust is golden brown
Remove from the oven and let sit 15 to 20 minutes
Carefully remove the Timballo from the pan, slice and serve

Buon Appetito!