Not Your Ordinary Elbow Macaroni Casserole

December 12, 2016

There are so many commonly prepared and predictable tasting macaroni casseroles and then comes along this impressive and fun to make timballo di maccarun. Timballo is a word that means drum, and in this case, a beautifully molded casserole made in a spring form pan to give the effect. Maccarun is a southern Italian dialect word for macaroni. The casserole is fun and easy to assemble, and makes an impressive statement and would be a showpiece on a holiday table. Put it together all at once or in stages. Why settle for ho hum when you can elevate elbow macaroni and a few choice ingredients into a casserole with pizzaz!

Macaroni Casserole with Pizzaz
Serves 8 to 10

4 cups cooked elbow macaroni (2 cups dry)

1 1/2 cups diced mozzarella cheese (fior di latte)

1/2 cup diced sharp provolone cheese

2 1/2 cups tomato sauce, plus extra to pass

7 slices prosciutto or 1/4 pound pancetta cut into thin rounds
3/4 pound ground chuck

1/2 pound ground pork

2 slices stale white bread, crusts removed

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons minced basil

1/4 cup minced Italian flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

2/3 cup grated Pecorino cheese

Combine the macaroni, mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and the tomato sauce in a bowl and set aside.

Spray a 9-inch spring form pan with olive oil. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with the prosciutto or pancetta slices, overlapping them. Set aside.

Combine the ground meats in a large bowl. Dip the bread slices quickly in a small bowl of water and squeeze out the excess. Crumble the bread over the meats. Add the eggs, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, pecorino cheese and garlic. Mix gently with your hands to blend the ingredients. (Can be prepared and refrigerated a day ahead)

Preheat the oven to 350F

Wet your hands and pat about 2/3 of the meat mixture evenly over the

prosciutto or pancetta. Be sure to spread the meat to the edges of the pan so there are no gaps.

Carefully spread the macaroni mixture over the meat. Pat it down firmly with your hands or a wooden spoon.

Use a rolling pin to roll out the remaining meat between two sheets of wax paper into a 9 1/2-inch round to fit the top of the pan.

Carefully pull back one sheet of the wax paper and invert the meat over the top of the pan. Pull back the remaining sheet of wax paper.

Neatly press the meat along the edges of the pan to form a seal.

Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until the top is nicely browned.

Remove the pan from the oven. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Let the pan cool for 5 minutes.
Place a round serving platter larger than the pan over the top and invert thecasserole onto the platter.

Use a pot holder to release the spring and carefully lift off the sides. Remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment paper. Serve the timballo cut into wedges and pass extra tomato sauce on the side.

More From the Blog

Eat Your Spinach

La Festa delle Donne