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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.

Serves 4

33 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the award!

    I love the sound of this pasta dish and also those plum colored napkins 🙂

    I don’t think I’ve ever eaten or seen that wonderful looking anelletti pasta.

    September 28, 2011
    • You are welcome! Anelletti is a regional (Sicilian) pasta format. I guess it is hard to find outside Italy. However, you can substitute it with macaroni.
      I used these plum colored napkins since I like the contrast wih the colors of this dish. I am glad you liked it!

      September 30, 2011
  2. That eggplant is the most fantastic colour, wow, and what a lovely recipe.. I must go back and study it more closely, though i would have to import that pasta i think!!c

    September 28, 2011
    • Indeed those eggplants had a very bright color!!! If you do not find this pasta type, you can substitute it with any small pasta format such as macaroni-

      September 30, 2011
  3. I’m so excited to see this for a number of reasons. (1. You’re deserving of awards and picked some great people to pass it onto.) 2) Timbale! I’ve only made one and am thinking about doing it again on Thanksgiving. We’re having our traditional meal early, so the makes me think of doing an Italian feast instead. I can’t wait to study this a bit harder and compare it to other recipes. Thanks so much!

    September 28, 2011
    • Thank you Greg!! You are so sweet and kind!!!

      September 30, 2011
  4. Ha, me again. I know I can’t find that amazing pasta shape here, sadly.

    September 28, 2011
    • Hi Greg!! Oh..I know it is hard to find!! But don’t worry! You can do it with small tubular pasta!!! Macaroni should work perfect also!! I am sure you can find some pasta formats from Barilla brand or De Cecco!!

      September 28, 2011
  5. Thanks for the nomination Ambrosiana. This recipe looks amazing!

    September 28, 2011
    • You deserve it!!! You have a wonderful blog and I really enjoy reading it!

      September 30, 2011
  6. Congrats on this award.. you definitely deserve it :). Your blog always inspires me :). And I bet Sicily must be a beautiful place to visit. Love the Timballo di Anelletti recipe

    September 28, 2011
    • Thank you!! Oh Yes! Sicily is amazing. I truly reccomend visiting this fascinating island

      September 30, 2011
  7. This is a great recipe, Ambrosiana, and just the type that I favor when the weather grows cold. I love how it will warm the kitchen and perfume the house. Thank you for sharing this little bit of Sicily with us. And thank you for your kind words about my blog.

    September 29, 2011
    • You got it!! This is the kind of recipe that still has summer products (that are still available) and hearty ragù that is perfect for chilly weather!!! As regards to your blog, I think your blog is beautiful not only beacuse you have really good recipes, but because it is about your family’s traditions – something we should always treasure and be proud of it!!

      September 30, 2011
  8. Wonderful combo of so many different flavors! The wine with the meats and pasta and veggies sounds amazing! And I love the little ring pastas! Congrats on your award 😀

    September 29, 2011
    • Thank you Stefanie! I think all flavors combined are fantastic!!

      September 30, 2011
  9. I was lost in the beauty of your pictures and the recipe (I love anything with eggplants!) and was surprised to see my name up for an award!
    First of all congratulations on the more than deserve it..
    and thank you so so much for the made my day..I am truely honored!

    September 29, 2011
    • Thnsk you very much!!! Your compliments are just flattering. And oh yes, your blog deserves all the possible credits!!! It is outstanding!!!

      September 30, 2011
  10. How wonderful! I have just written a post which mentions Timballo – but I haven´t cooked it recently. My mum makes a wonderful version and she also uses breadcrumbs like you. It´s an amazing party dish and yours looks stunning. Congratulations on a great dish and your award!!

    September 29, 2011
    • Thank you chica!!! Timballo is such a comfort food, specially when mom cooks it for us!!!

      September 30, 2011
  11. Beautiful…Beauutiiffulll post!

    September 29, 2011
  12. As always, your blog brings me lots of great recipes and smiles!! This is a wonderful dish,full of flavor and my favorite ingredient, eggplant! I love the pasta shape! I always buy pasta from Italy from my Italian market. I have no problem spending $5-6 dollars on my pasta and the shapes are all so much fun!! I bet that book has some amazing recipes!

    September 29, 2011
    • Yes that book has some amazing recipes..I haven’t had the opportunity to go through all the recipes I want to make (not enough time!). But when I make them, I will be sharing them with you!!

      September 30, 2011
  13. Congratulations. It is so nice to meet with you, I love your blog, Thank you and let me add this too,
    You have been in my list again You can see my latest post for the details to your next mission. Thank you, Blessing and Happiness, with my love, nia

    September 30, 2011
    • Thank you!!!!!!! Double thanks!!! I am flattered!!! I am cheking out that link!!!! You are such a sweet person!!!

      September 30, 2011
      • You are welcome and million thanks, you are such a nice person too dear Ambrosiana, Have a nice weekend, with my love, nia

        September 30, 2011
  14. Wow, I always look at the photos first, and I want to take photos like you do. Beautiful! And the food sounds good too.:)

    September 30, 2011
    • Thank you!! And thanks for stopping by!!!

      September 30, 2011
  15. You are very deserving of this award… I learned something is accepting my award (not liking being in the spot light!) that I have met the most amazing people that came by to check my blog out! The awards are very good PR! They are a good thing! I love the recipe and the pictures are beautiful! ….RaeDi

    September 30, 2011
    • Thank you RaeDi!!!! Yes awards – even if we are so shy to accept them – are very good PR!!!

      September 30, 2011
  16. That book sounds quite interesting, I’ll try to get my hands on one. I love that it gets recipes from Tavernas etc….REAL cooking!

    October 9, 2011

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