Timballo di rigatoni

Timballo di rigatoni

Man Food
Billy Law

This one tastes just as good as it looks! Timballo is an Italian dish consisting of baked pasta with eggplant or meat, and seemingly like all dishes in Italy, the variation is different from region to region and each claims to produce the best variation. Timballo is a perfect dish for weekend entertaining. Take your time to build the masterpiece; a glass of wine in hand always seems to make the process a lot quicker. It’s best to bake the timballo when the guests have arrived so you can serve it hot straight out of the oven.


Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon salt
750g rigatoni pasta
olive oil, to drizzle
1 quantity bechamel sauce
60g cheddar cheese, grated
50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
handful parsley, roughly chopped

Beef ragu

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g minced beef
800g tinned diced tomatoes
90g tomato paste
2 bay leaves
250ml dry red wine
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. The ragu can be made a day ahead to let the flavours develop. To make the ragu, heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium–low heat. Add the onion and sauté gently until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Turn the heat to medium–high and add the beef, stirring until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaves, then pour in the red wine and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 1 1⁄2 hours or until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper. If not using immediately, let it cool down completely, cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to be used.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil and add the salt. Add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes or until half-cooked, it should still be a little firmer than al dente. Drain, shake off any excess water and drizzle olive oil over the pasta. Give it a good stir to stop it from sticking together.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Place the hoop of a 22 cm springform cake tin on top of a large round baking dish.
  4. Spread a thick layer of béchamel evenly over the dish inside the hoop. Then slowly, smear the side of each piece of the pasta with more béchamel sauce, place them upright inside the hoop and stick them together so they stand up straight. Pack them tightly until the whole dish is filled.
  5. Gently spoon the ragu over the pasta and fill all the pasta tubes. Sprinkle the combined cheeses over the top, and bake for 30–45 minutes or until heated through and the cheese on top is golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Run a knife along the inside of the tin hoop and gently remove it from the dish. Garnish with parsley.
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