Timballo di anelletti
During my last trip to Favigana, Sicily, I bought a book of Sicilian recipes named – Ricette di Osterie e Genti di Sicilia (Recipes of Taverns and People of Sicily) - Slow Food Publishing. As the title says, this book is a collection of recipes from different taverns and well known cooks across the fascinating Island of Sicily.
One of my favorite recipes in this book is Timballo di Anelletti (Timbale of Ring shaped pasta) which is baked pasta with ground meat, a specialty of Palermo – Sicily’s capital city.
Timballo di Anelletti, prepared in Palermo for special occasions or festive days, is a dish that has Arabic origins and it has some similarities to Greek Moussaka. This recipe is my idea of comfort food because it has earthy fried eggplants, a ragù of mixed ground meats, gooey cheese – all baked into a concoction of pure goodness – so hearty and perfect for this time of year.
The recipe I am about to present is the classic version but I made some variations: I added tomato sauce instead of tomato puree, added white wine and omitted ham.
Timballo di Anelletti
- 400 grams (14 ounces) of anelletti pasta
- 200 grams (7 ounces) of ground veal
- 200 grams (7 ounces) of ground pork meat
- 150grams (5 ounces) of ham
- 300 grams (10 ounces) of green peas
- 2 medium eggplants
- 200 grams (7 ounces) of Caciocavallo cheese
- some minced parsley
- 1 small chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup of white wine
- 12 fluid ounces of tomato sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of Pecorino cheese
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preparing ragù
In a saucepan add extra virgin oil, add chopped onion until it becomes translucent.
Add ground veal and pork and let it cook for a few minutes.
Add white wine. Add tomato sauce, and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes.
Add green peas, and cook another 15-20 minute
Stop cooking when the sauce has thickened.
- Fry eggplants
Slice eggplants crosswise into round slices. Toss eggplants with salt and place them in a colander. Let eggplants drain for about 1 hour. Pat dry. Fry 4 to 5 slices at a time until they acquire an intense brown color. Drain excess oil if necessary
- Preparing pasta
Meanwhile cook anelletti following package instructions. Drain and transfer them in a bowl.
- Mixing ingredients
In the bowl containng anelletti pasta, add ragù, pecorino cheese, caciocavallo cheese cut into cubs, and minced parsley.
Pour the anelletti, ragù and cheese mixture into a baking pan, add eggplants slices. Continue doing layers of pasta mixture and slices eggplants until done. Sprinkle the pie surface with bread crumbs, and some grated Pecorino cheese. Bake at 180 °C (350 ° F) for 30-40 minutes.