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Chef Peter DeRuvo of Sassi in North Scottsdale has shared with me his recipe for Timbale. It is an Italian holiday baked pasta dome. This recipe is not for beginners!


  • 8 Fresh pasta sheets
  • 4 oz. softened butter
  • 2 lbs. Penne or Garganelle pasta
  • Tomato Layer (see below), Pesto Layer (see below), Ricotta (see below)
  • .
  • 1 pint Canned Italian plum tomatoes
  • ¼ cup Sliced Garlic
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1 Red onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 oz Pancetta, Guanciale or bacon
  • ½ cup Pecorino Romano
  • ¼ cup Parsley leaves
  • .
  • 1 quart Basil leaves
  • 2 cups Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • ½ cup Toasted pine nuts
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano and/or Parmigiano
  • .
  • 1 ½ cups Fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano and/or Parmigiano
  • 8 each Egg yolks
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon Fresh nutmeg
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin olive oil


Tomato Layer:
Use a a large sauté pan. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan over low heat, add the pork product of your choice and cook until it begins to brown slightly, add the red onion slices and brown well, add the garlic, crushed red pepper and cook for one minute, then add the tomato and season well with salt an pepper. Allow sauce to simmer for 5 minutes, stir in parsley leaves. Place in a large mixing bowl.

Pesto Layer:
In a food processor or blender, puree garlic with 1 cup of olive oil. Add basil and puree adding olive oil as necessary to keep basil covered. Add pine nuts and pecorino cheese and pulse until incorporated. Taste pesto and season well with salt and pepper. Place in a large mixing bowl.

Ricotta layer:
Place ricotta in a large mixing bowl with rest of ingredients and stir together well.

Assembling the TIMBALE

1. Place a medium to large stainless steel mixing bowl in refrigerator to chill. Rub the inside of the chilled bowl with softened butter to completely coat the bowl in one even layer and return to fridge.

2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a Large pot of boiling water cook the pasta sheets one at a time until just tender and then place them in the bowl of the ice water to cool. Remove sheets from ice water when cool, place on lightly oiled baking sheets.

3. Once all of the sheets are cooked, cook the two pounds of penne pasta in the water.

4. Lay two sheets of pasta in the buttered mixing bowl, slightly overlapping, making sure that the bowls inner surface is completely covered. Leave any excess pasta hanging over the edge of the bowl.

5. When the penne is ready remove it from the water and divide it evenly between the three bowls of sauce (pesto, tomato and ricotta). Toss the penne together well with the sauces adding a little pasta water to the bowls to keep the penne moist and well lubricated.

6. Place the penne that is tossed with basil in the pasta lined mixing bowl to fill it about 1/3 of the way up. Lay another sheet of fresh pasta down to over the pesto penne.

7. Place the penne with ricotta over the second layer of pasta filling the bowl 1/3 of the way up. Again, cover the penne with a sheet or two of the fresh pasta. Finally, add the penne in the tomato sauce to fill the bowl a little higher than the rim (the dish will first expand then shrink after baking) place the final remaining pasta sheets over the last layer of pasta and fold the excess past from the first layer of sheets over the edge.

8. Place the bowl in a large baking dish filled with simmering water, cover with foil and place in a pre-heated 275 degree oven. Cook the pasta Timbale for about 1 hour. Use a kitchen thermometer to check to make sure the middle of the timbale has reached at least 175-200 degrees.

9. Remove the bowl from the oven and let rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes (45 is better). Remove foil from the top of the bowl and place a baking sheet, plate or platter, inverted, over the bowls opening.

10. Grasping both the bowl and platter firmly, quickly flip the bowl upside down. Gently tap the outside of the bowl to be sure that none of the pasta has stuck to it and then carefully remove bowl. You should have a large dome shaped “Timbale” sitting on your platter. Top the timbale with cheese and or bread crumbs or top with your favorite sauce. Cut the timbale like a cake and amaze you guests when they see the layers within!

Serves 8+.

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