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Molded Macaroni Casserole

Timballo di Maccarun

SERVES 8 TO 10

Pasta means paste, something made from flour and water. It has become a generic term when referring to all types of pasta, whether made from just flour and water or with eggs as well. In southern Italy, pasta is called macaroni or maccarun, as was said at home. The many shapes and sizes that macaroni come in are created by bronze die-plates that extrude the mixture of semolina flour and water, and give its artistic, final shape. In this recipe the elbow shape is used to make an impressive molded casserole called a timballo.

Ingredients

3/4 pound ground beef sirloin

1/2 pound ground veal

2 slices stale bread

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

4 cups cooked elbow macaroni (2 cups dry)

1 1/2 cups diced mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup diced Provolone cheese

2 1/2 cups tomato sauce, plus extra as needed

Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil, for greasing pan

7 lean slices prosciutto, or 1/4 pound pancetta

Directions

In a bowl, gently combine the ground meats. In a separate bowl of water, dip the bread slices just until softened, then squeeze out the water, crumble the bread, and add to the meats along with the eggs, herbs, salt, pepper, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Mix just to combine the ingredients. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the cooked macaroni with the remaining cheeses and 1 cup of tomato sauce. Set aside.

Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Place the slices of prosciutto or pancetta in the bottom of the pan in a spokelike or circle fashion. Cover the slices and sides of the pan with about two thirds of the meat mixture. Make sure there are no gaps. Gently fill the center of the pan with the macaroni mixture, patting it down firmly.

With a rolling pin, roll the remaining meat mixture between 2 sheets of waxed paper to fit the top of the pan. Remove 1 sheet of the waxed paper and invert the meat over the top of the pan. Carefully pull back the remaining sheet of waxed paper. Neatly press the edges of the meat all the way around the pan, making sure that there are no gaps.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cover the top of the pan tightly with a piece of aluminum foil. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, covered. Remove the foil and bake 15 minutes longer, or until the meat is browned on top.

Remove the pan from the oven. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Place a serving platter over the pan and invert onto the platter. With a potholder, carefully release the spring and lift off the sides of the pan. Remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment paper. Let the timballo cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve the timballo cut into wedges and pass extra tomato sauce on the side.

This recipe is from NELLA CUCINA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc. in 1993.

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  1. Joanne Vanderwall's avatar

    Joanne Vanderwall

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