Timballo di Natalia

Timballo di Natalia

Natalia’s timballo

Spring in Sicily
Simon Griffiths

For her timballo, Natalia used a special pasta called anelli that is shaped like little rings. As anelli pasta is only available in Sicily, you can use any small pasta you like, such as farfalline, pennette etc.


Quantity Ingredient
25g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 spanish onion, very finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, very finely sliced
6 fresh sage leaves
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, woody stalks discarded
2 fresh bay leaves
150g tomato concentrate
400g canned italian tomatoes
salt and pepper
500ml sunflower oil, for frying
1 medium eggplant, cut into small cubes
500g anelli pasta, (or other small pasta shapes of your choice)
2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
1 large fresh mozzarella ball, cut into small cubes


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. To make the sauce, heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion, garlic and herbs, taking care not to burn the garlic. When soft, add the tomato concentrate and cook for a few minutes, until the mixture darkens in colour. Stir in the tomatoes and cook over gentle heat for about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and season to your liking.
  3. Heat the sunflower oil in a small frying pan and, when hot, fry the eggplant in batches until pale gold. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until just al dente. Drain well and mix in the tomato sauce so that the pasta is evenly coated.
  5. Thoroughly butter a round non-stick oven dish diameter and at least 8 cm. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the bottom and up the sides of the dish, then pour in half the pasta. Top with a layer of the eggplant and mozzarella, then cover with the remaining pasta. Bake for 15–20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and leave the timballo to stand for about 3 minutes before turning upside down on a serving dish.
Spring in Sicily
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