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Bucatini timbale with grilled eggplants (Timballo de bucatini alle melanzane)

A timbale is a small baking dish or mould called a ramekin that is used to bake dishes and is usually served on the table. The dish is usually layered and different from a souflé. Timbales are usually made in individual-sized servings. Timbales are French in origin and usually contain s starch like rice or pasta.

This is a lovely vegetarian timbale of Italian origins. The pasta is cooked into a very rich tomato sauce and layered with gooey cheese and roasted eggplant. The flavours come together well with the cheese complimenting the flavourful sauce and the eggplant adding earthy nuances. One timbale is definitely not enough.

Lorenza's Pasta is a collection of elegant pasta dishes by Lorenza. Sge made her reputation on a PBS TV show and this book has won the James Breard Award. This is a lovely cookbook with unique recipes that step away from the normal. The sauces are excellent and the dishes are favourites at home.

For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.



Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups tomato purèe

Salt, to taste

1-2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

1 + 1 tablespoon basil, minced


1 large eggplant

Olive oil spray

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper


Oil spray

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Fresh basil, for garnish

grated mozzarella cheese

Bucatini pasta


Preheat an oven to 375 ° F. Cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and salt. Bake for 30 minutes till browned and soft. Remove and cool.


Cook the pasta as per directions on the box minus 1 minute for"al dante". Drain and set aside.


Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the garlic. Fry for 20 seconds without colouring. Add the tomato purèe, salt, sugar, pepper and chilli and cook on a low flame for 30 minutes till the sauce is thick and rich. The sauce should be delicious with a hint of spice.


Add the pasta and basil in and mix well. You are looking for well-coated pasta that is rich in sauce. Set aside.


To assemble the timbale, spray a ramekin or large baking dish with oil. Add the breadcrumbs and coat evenly. Add a layer of the pasta to the bottom and sides. Add some cheese and the pasta on top. Finish any grated mozzarella on top.


Bake covered with foil for 20 minutes and remove the foil. Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove.


To serve, top the ramekin with a small plate, or the baking dish with a platter. Invert quickly and tap on top to loosen the baked pasta. Lift out the dish. Serve immediately garnished with basil.



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