Timballo de pasta


Timballo di maccheroni is a typical festive dish in Italians households, any city, or even, every family have his own recipe.     I suggest you prepare the recipe from Naples, made with tomato sauce and delicious polpettine (small meatballs). It can be prepared a day or two in advance and warmed when it is time to serve.

This is a great way to recycle your leftover pasta and transform it into a dish that will delight your guests!





500 gr  (17.6 oz)cooked pasta

800 gr (28,21 oz) of  tomatoes  passata

350 gr (12,34 oz) mozzarella

300 gr (10,58 oz ) of grounded meat

leftover bread


Dried onion

3 eggs

200 gr (7 oz) grated Parmigiano Reggiano





Prepare the meatballs. Soak the bread in water or milk until soft or grate it. Drain the bread of excess water. In a bowl mix the meat, bread, salt, pepper, dried onion, parsley, parmigiano and one egg.


IMG_3417If you need to cook your pasta, do it just for half of the cooking time indicated on the box. Dress with a drizzle of olive oil and set a part.

Prepare the  tomato sauce by putting 4 Tbs olive oil in a pan and two garlic cloves, cook until  light golden. Trow the tomatoes in the oil, add the basil, the salt and a pinch of sugar if needed. Let  the liquid evaporate a bit until it turns dark red colour.  You can also add tomato paste to make it richer.


Deep fry the meatballs and add them to the tomato sauce. You can also cook the meat ball in the tomato sauce for a lighter dish. Prepare a baking dish with some butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs.



Mix the pasta with the sauce, add the mozzarella cut into cubes and  add the parmigiano.

Beat the 2  eggs and add it to the pasta, mix.


IMG_3432Trow the pasta in the dish and press it a bit. Cover the last layer with some mozzarella and parmigiano and bake for 30 min at 180 ºC.

Let it cool. To unmold the timball, run a blade of knife around the inside edges of the pan. Place the serving dish over the timbal and quickly invert the timballo on the plate.

Cook tips

A delicious variation of this dish is the Sicilian one, with fried eggplants and smoked ricotta. In some region the timballo is folded by  two layers of puff pastry.

To make this dish, the less you cook the pasta before baking, the better. If you are using cooked pasta handle it with care mixing the ingredient just once before putting your timballo in the oven. You can also add some pies and different cheese to the pasta mixture. Or, of course, just use what you have available!


The original recipe use the Ragu napoletano, a tomato and meat base sauce very time-consuming to make. It takes 3 days for the authentic ragu to be ready! But for a long time  for Neapolitan men’s this was the essential test for a bride to be!

The sacred process of presenting and eating timballo is well pictured in this movie…..


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