feasting with friends

Angel Hair Timbale {or is it a Timpano?}

TGIF 🙂 Not only has the weekend arrived, but it’s also Fiesta Friday – which is TGIFF! I had a lot of fun at the party last week, Angie at Novice Gardener is such a lovely host – I can’t wait to see what all the guests bring this week. Click on over to Fiesta Friday to view all of the contributions!

One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend evening is dinner and a movie. If the movie is about food…all the better! Have you watched the movie, “Big Night”? It stars Stanley Tucci and Tony Shaloub as brothers and they’re trying to save their Italian restaurant from closing. The big, climactic food scene involves the serving of their Timpano. Basically, a Timpano is a pastry crust filled with pasta, ragu, meatballs, peas, chicken and mozzarella. It is assembled in layers, baked and sliced in wedges. It looks magnificent! Now, whenever I make my Timbale, I can’t help but think about this movie 🙂 If you’re a foodie and a movie lover and haven’t watched it, it’s time to add it to your list!

A Timbale is very similar to a Timpano. It is defined as a dish of finely minced meat or fish cooked with other ingredients in a pastry shell or in a mold. See, very similar dishes, two separate names. I guess I could call this “angel hair pasta, sausage, and veggies baked in puff pastry”, but that seems too much! I guess I’ll go with Angel Hair Timbale, since it fits more with the description.

Angel Hair Timbale

The recipe I use is one I adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis, via her cookbook, Giada’s Family Dinners. It has a puff pastry crust which I fill with a mixture of Italian sausage, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, angel hair pasta, cheese and tomato sauce. It’s baked in a springform pan [finally, a non-cheesecake use for that thing!] and 1½ hours later… voila! A beautiful entree!

Angel Hair Timbale

If you’re looking for a meatless variation, simply leave out the sausage and up the quantity of veggies. This recipe is adaptable to say the least. I prepare my filling one day prior, then assemble and bake the day of a gathering. A salad on the side completes the meal. Since all of the prep is done 1+ hours before eating, you’re free to entertain your guests without being stuck in the kitchen. A major plus in my opinion! One Timbale will serve 10 hungry people.

Angel Hair Timbale

Note: This recipe calls for 3 cups of homemade tomato sauce or you can use store bought marinara if you choose. I make my own, using my canned tomatoes. A favorite recipe of mine can be found at A Family Feast.

tomato sauce      tomato sauce

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant, cubed  [about 2 cups]
2 small zucchini, cubed [about 1½ cups]
1 small yellow squash, cubed [about 1 cup]
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
½ cup onion, small dice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed [about 3 links]
1/3 cup dry red wine
3 cups tomato sauce [or marinara, see above]
½ – 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
8 ounces angel hair pasta
¾ pound fresh mozzarella, diced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 (17 1/4-ounce) package frozen puff pastry [2 sheets], thawed


•Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and garlic. Stir to coat in the oil. Salt and pepper to taste, and add the red pepper flakes. Saute about 10 minutes, or until vegetables have softened. I find using a lid on the pan for about ½ of the cook time, helps to speed up the process. Remove cooked vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Angel Hair Timbale      Angel Hair Timbale

•To the same skillet [heat still at medium-high], add the sausage and red wine. Using a wooden spoon, break the sausage into smaller pieces and cook until wine evaporates and sausage is no longer pink. Remove from skillet using the slotted spoon and add to the cooked veggies.

Angel Hair Timbale      Angel Hair Timbale

•If you’re prepping this recipe ahead of time, refrigerate veggie/meat mixture until ready to continue [allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes if it has been refrigerated]. When you’re ready…on to the next step…

•Cook the angel hair pasta in a pot of salted, boiling water for ½ of the time indicated on the package instructions. Drain and in a large bow, toss with the veggie/sausage mixture and the 3 cups of tomato sauce [marinara]. Stir well. Set aside, and allow to cool.

Angel Hair Timbale

•Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare the pastry crust: On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 sheet of the puff pastry to a 13½-inch square. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan, allowing excess pastry to hang over the edge.

Angel Hair Timbale    Angel Hair Timbale

•Add the diced mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese to the cooled filling, toss well to combine. Spoon the mixture into the pastry lined pan.

Angel Hair Timbale  Angel Hair Timbale

•Roll out the 2nd sheet of puff pastry to a 13-inch square. Place the pastry over the filling. Pinch the edges of the puff pastry together to seal. Trim the “overhang” of pastry sheets to within 1-inch of the pan. Fold the edges in to form a crust/decorative border. Cut a slit in the top crust to allow steam to escape.

Angel Hair Timbale    Angel Hair Timbale

•Bake until the pastry is browned and puffed on top, about 1½ hours. Let stand for 20 minutes. Remove the pan sides, and serve.

Angel Hair Timbale    Angel Hair Timbale

I recommend serving with a chopped salad for a hearty meal, enjoy!

Angel Hair Timbale

Fiesta Friday #4


  1. Pingback: The Novice Gardener: (Not) Sunday Shout-out to Nancy! | feasting with friends

  2. How did I miss this last week? I love the look of this timbale. There is a Sicilian macaroni pie recipe which has become my go-to for special dinners including at Christmas, I was sceptical about pasta in pie, but how wrong I was! 🙂

    • Thanks, glad you saw it now. Initially I was hesitant to give this recipe a try – but I’m so glad I did! Now I know “pasta pie” is excellent. I would love to see your Sicilain version posted some day:)

  3. I enjoy watching Giada on TV and I have all of her cookbooks. The last one is “healthy” – hard to believe with all of the great Italian recipes she makes. “Giada’s Feel Good Food” might not be my favorite but interesting to see how she lightens up some of her recipes.

    • Absolutely, sometimes the smallest changes in a recipe can really lighten them up. That said, this dish deserves the flaky puff pastry and cheeses – they’re what make it a “once in awhile special meal” 🙂

  4. Oh, my goodness! That’s looks fabulous. And that’s a Giada recipe? I love making her stuff. Don’t think I ever saw her make that on TV before. I think I’d make this one especially since you don’t have worry with making your own crust and can save some time with that.

    • The store bought puff pastry makes this quite simple to prepare. I absolutely love the presentation of this dish – perfect for entertaining! Not sure if Giada ever prepared this on her show, I found the recipe in one of her cookbooks…and so glad I did!

  5. Your dish is incredible!! I so want to try this, but I think I will have to wait for a day off work! This is truly a labour of love, don’t you think? Now I want to watch the movie too! I love food movies

    • Thank you so much! Labor of love? Yes, but I do prep the filling one day prior which cuts down the amount of time immensely on the “eating day”. Probably less than 30 minutes to cook the pasta and assemble the Timbale. Not too bad considering the final product 🙂 Plus, you can watch the movie while it bakes!

  6. No, haven’t seen the movie! Can’t believe I missed that. What year was it from? I hope I can find it, now I won’t rest until I see it. And, no, have never had anything near this impressive. This is another one of your creations that begs me to try it. The other one was that whole stuffed cabbage. Actually you have a few others that are equally tantalizing but these two are high on my list. What a wonderful offering you brought us, Nancy! Are you sure you’re not a professional chef? 🙂

    • Your so sweet Angie 🙂 No professionalism here…just a messy kitchen! Between the cabbage and this one, the timbale is easier to make. I’ve made it at least a half of dozen times – the Chou Farci, just once. See what movies do to me! Both were inspired via the cinema:) Big Night is from 1996.

  7. absolutely gorgeous and looks so delicious. One of the things I love to eat at my local Bristol Farms Market is their eggplant rollatini which is eggplant-parmesan-like slices enclosing angel hair pasta!

  8. I’ve never heard the name Timpano for this kind of recipe, but I like it, it makes me laugh ( timpano in italian means eardrum).
    Timbale or Timpano your recipe is great, it represent that kind of food that I’m able to finish by myself in one day!

    • Eardrum? That is funny! I’ve only heard of it in that movie – apparently the writer’s (Stanley Tucci) creation? Thanks for your comment and translation 🙂

  9. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #4 | The Novice Gardener

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