The first three words to this recipe are most likely familiar. But timballo may have you stumped. For those unfamiliar with timballo, it’s an Italian version of a baked pie, and often takes a dome like shape. A traditional timballo recipe uses potato, pasta, or rice for the crust, but former MasterChef contestant Justine Schofield has put her own twist to it.
Time: 2 hours
2 x 200gm packets of San Remo instant cannelloni
2-3 eggplant, sliced
2 tbs. olive oil + extra for eggplant
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
8 thin Italian pork sausages, casings removed
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
750 ml good quality tomato passata
1½ cups of frozen baby peas
1 ball of smoked mozzarella, torn into small pieces
1 cup of Parmesan
6 leaves of basil, torn
Drizzle each slice of eggplant with oil, season with salt and grill on the barbecue or in a griddle pan. Reserve.
For the meat sauce, heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onion, garlic and celery and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes or until the onions are very soft but not too coloured. Turn the heat up and add the sausage meat. Using a fork separate the sausage so it is minced. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the tomatoes and peas. Cook on a low heat for 45-60 minutes.
Pre heat the oven to 180C.
Line the spring-form pan with the grilled eggplant; leave four pieces 4 pieces for the top. Make sure that the slices overlap and hang over the edge of the pan. Pour in 1/3 of the sausage sauce and scatter in half of the mozzarella and a small handful of the Parmesan. Then stick the cannelloni into the sauce so they stand up like pillars. Pour over the remaining sauce and with the back of a wooden spoon poke in as much of the meat in as possible. Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and tear over the basil. Add the rest of the eggplant.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Let it sit for 10 minutes before and removing it from the spring-form tin.