Timballo Siciliano Recipe

(36 ratings)

Preparation Time25 mins
Cooking Time50 mins
Total Time1 hours 15 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories559 Kcal28%
Fat27 g39%
Saturated Fat14 g70%
Carbohydrates55 g21%

Have yourself a taste of Sicily with this Timballo Siciliano!

Timballo is a showstopper that takes its name from the old French word for kettledrum and you can see it’s essentially a pie made of pasta.

We used authentic Sicilian hoops, but any large macaroni or rigatoni will do. While a cake tin might not seem like the obvious choice to mold your pasta in, it will make it much easier for you to get the timballo out – grease it a little but there’s no need to go overboard.

If you think your cake tin might not be very non-stick, you can line the base with greaseproof paper. This is great served with a salad.

If you're looking for more Italian recipes, why not try out this classic Italian minestrone soup? Perfect for lunch or a light dinner. We've also got many other great recipes to give you inspiration for your next lunch or dinner.


For the tomato sauce:

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • small bunch basil (reserve a few leaves for decoration)
  • 4 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1tsp caster sugar

For the pasta:

  • 500g anellini hoop pasta, macaroni or rigatoni
  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated

For the filling:

  • sun flower oil, for frying
  • 4 aubergines, 1 sliced lengthways,3 chopped into cubes
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated

You will need:

  • 20cm round cake tin, lightly greased


  1. Make the tomato sauce by heating the oil in a pan with the garlic for a few mins. Add the basil and cook for 30 secs, then add the tomatoes and sugar. season and simmer for 25 mins, or until reduced by half. Remove from the heat.
  2. Bring a separate pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta for 10-12 mins, until al dente. Drain, return to the pan, add the butter and Parmesan, and stir in half of the tomato sauce.
  3. For the filling, in a frying pan, heat 2cm oil and fry the aubergine slices (for the top of your timballo) and the cubed aubergine until golden. add the cubed aubergine to the remaining tomato sauce and cook for 15 mins until reduced. stir in the cheese.
  4. Heat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. to assemble, line the base of the tin with the aubergine slices. add three-quarters of pasta, making sure it lines the base and sides, leaving a gap in the centre to scoop in the aubergine and tomato sauce mix, then place the remaining pasta on top. Cook for 20-25 mins, leave to stand for 10 mins, then turn out onto a platter. top with a few basil leaves.
Top Tip for making Timballo Siciliano

You can use a frying pan if you don’t have a griddle pan

Chef, Food Writer, and Podcast Host Elişa Roche trained under Jamie Oliver as part of Channel 4 show Jamie's Kitchen before working at some of London's best restaurants. She has cooked at No10 Downing Street and for celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, U2, and Sir Paul McCartney. 

She now hosts a podcast about careers in the food industry and loves to mentor newcomers. Before that, Elişa worked as Group Food Director and TI Media and then Future, commissioning, art directing, and producing food and drinks content across more than 20 magazines and their associated websites and special issues.