Each trip back to Sicily, especially back to the Foresteria Planeta in Menfi, is like going back home.
We stay at the Foresteria as a base for most of our trip, as they have a fabulous teaching kitchen and Chef Angelo Pumilia shares the secrets of the Planeta family recipes with us.
One of the dishes that made a huge impression was the Timballo. If you have seen the film BIG NIGHT, they make a classic version which is labor intensive and takes all day long. The reality of life is that few of us have that much time to spend creating monumental food icons.
This version has become a favorite and easy to make. Call it a spaghetti pie! I have also seen versions in Naples, smaller, as street food.
To create your own Timballo-
butter and breadcrumb a round cake pan
parboiled spaghetti in tomato sauce with butter and parmesan cheese
Grilled eggplant slices
peeled and seeded fresh tomato
provolone cheese sliced
The start to layer into the breadcrumbed pan.
When you have the whole pan covered in pasta-- start your layering.
Cover with fried eggplant slices
Fresh basil-- lots!
Really press down on the filling and pack it full!
Then flip the pasta which has been over the edge-- to the top and if needed add more to cover.
Cover the top with foil and bake at 375 for about an hour. Remove the foil and continue cooking until the top is crisp too.
Flip out onto a large serving dish and serve in slices.
It is a true show stopper!
The other day we didn't have eggplant and made it with zucchini. I think that some mozzarella would also be nice inside, although messy!
Now I am dreaming of mini portions made cupcake size!