Looking for a way to use up some of that late summer eggplant in a show-stopping presentation? This eggplant timballo fits the bill, and it's much easier to make that you'd think. Imagine the surprise on your guests' faces when you slice into this, unveiling the pasta interior. Some of my blogger friends - Rowena and Marie - have also posted similar recipes and I always find inspiration from them.
For this timballo, I used a one-quart souffle dish that was lightly oiled. I grilled just one large eggplant, spreading a little olive oil on each slice before placing on the grill. Place the pieces with the prettiest grill marks facing the dish, not on the inside since it will be filled with pasta.
I cooked the pasta - anelli (little rings) in this case - then added some cooked sausage, peas and tomato sauce.
Throw in some parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. I had only about 2 ounces of mozzarella in the fridge, but I recommend using more. It helps to "glue" everything together.
Blend it all together.
And stuff the dish to the brim.
Fold the eggplant slices over the pasta and bake.
Let it rest at least 15 minutes before flipping and serving - with extra sauce on the side.
Here's a timballo I made last year using a much larger pot. You can see I ran out of eggplants, even though I used three. I baked it this way anyway.
It held together well enough and everyone loved it just the same.
Even though it uses only one pound of pasta, it served a lot of people. That's why I went with the smaller one-quart container you see in the first photo this time, that used only 1/2 pound of pasta. But if you've got a crowd of a dozen people coming, the larger timballo will serve that many people comfortably.
(for a one-quart souffle dish or similar vessel)
This will serve at least six people easily.
printable recipe here
1 large eggplant, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1/2 pound anelli pasta, or other pasta to your taste
1 pound sausage
1/2 cup peas, cooked
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups to 2 cups tomato sauce
Smear the eggplant slices with oil and grill until cooked through. Oil a one-quart souffle dish or similar vessel and arrange the cooked eggplant slices inside, leaving enough hanging over the side to fold over the pasta when the dish is full.
Remove the casing from the sausage, break into bits and cook in a pan. Boil water and cook the pasta until it's al dente. Drain the pasta and place into a bowl with the cooked sausage, and the rest of the ingredients, using as much tomato sauce as necessary to coat well. Reserve some of the sauce for later. Fill the dish with the pasta, then fold the eggplant slices over, covering the top of the pasta completely. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter, sprinkle with some parmesan cheese, and serve with the extra sauce.