Eggplant Timbale

Total Time:
1 hr 55 min
45 min
10 min
1 hr

4 to 6 servings

  • 2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound penne pasta
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound Italian pork sausage
  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 cups store-bought marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups diced smoked mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus 1/4 cup
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Special equipment: 9-inch springform pan

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or pre-heat a gas or charcoal grill. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the eggplant slices with 1/3 cup olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant until tender and colored with grill marks, about 4 minutes per side. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the beef and pork, and brown the meat, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the peas and marinara sauce and stir to combine. Add the cheeses, basil, and cooked pasta. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the springform pan with the grilled eggplant. Be sure that the slices overlap and hang over the edge of the pan. Fill the pan with the pasta mixture, pressing down to make sure the pan is filling up evenly. Fold the eggplant slices up over the top of the pasta and add a few more slices on top to completely enclose the timbale. Bake the timbale until warmed through and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes. Let rest on the counter for 10 minutes to set.

To serve, invert the timbale onto a serving plate and remove the springform pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top. Slice and serve.

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    116 Reviews
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    Wonderful! Tasty - hubby loved it! 
    A bit labor intensive, but well worth the effort. It did take more eggplant than I figured, so had to go back to store for more....but other than that it was well worth the effort! 
    A little tricky and lots of steps, but well worth it! A new holiday favorite. Delicious!
    great recipe, in need of clarification. Do not use a springform pan, too small for the amount of pasta, do use a large pyrex bowl which gives the shape of a timbalo.(drum. Use a mandolin to cut the eggplant. Butter or oil the pyrex bowl and then coat with bread crumbs, line bowl with eggplant slices add pasta, cheese, ragu, pea mixture, cover mixture with more eggplant.slices cover all with a dish and some cans that will press the mixture down, chill in refrigerator for 45 min. Then bake at 375 for 90 minutes. Let sit 20 and then slice invert bowl onto serving platter.
    Wow. I made this for my fiance's birthday dinner last night and his brother joined us and devoured it! They were so impressed! I did have to take my time and it did take me longer to prepare but I think the next time will go much quicker. I also couldn't find smoked mozz but it wasnt' missed since it's our first time. I think I might add a little prosciutto next time. This is definately going into our favorites.
    This looks so impressive that even friends who claimed to hate eggplant were dying to try it. A bit of advice for the reviewer whose timbale fell apart--do not pack the pasta too much. If you don't, it should stay together when you unmold it and when you slice it.
    A delicious recipe that lends itself well to variation. Though, I'll chime in with yet another vote to increase the number of eggplants to 4... and large eggplants, at that. Two mediums just will not cover. I made a vegetarian version of the recipe, substituting mushrooms - cremini and portabello - and green pepper for the meat. Also eliminating the peas, since I loathe them, and using my own homemade pizziola sauce. I also found that the Marsala was too sweet for my taste; I'd change to a plain, full-bodied red next time.
    This eggplant timbale definitely has the WOW factor when it's done! It looked so pretty! However, I would agree with the suggestion in another review that you need more than 2 eggplants. I ended up using 4 eggplants. It's also easier to purchase the long and plump eggplants. To make it pretty, for one slice of eggplant, I cut it crosswise instead of lengthwise. I used this as the first piece on the bottom as the centre piece. Then, all the other longer pieces "fanned" out of the middle piece. In any case, this recipe is brilliant!
    The flavor of the pasta part was good but you definitely need more eggplant to cover. Also, I suggest salting both sides of the eggplant and letting sit for one hour (Alex does this with her eggplant parm. To take the bitterness away. Salt both sides, let sit on wire rack for an hour and then rinse and pat dry. Then continue with recipe.
    I saw this on Everyday Italian while I was on lunch break at work and I really wanted to make it. It was hard slicing the eggplant perfectly, and it was also kind of hard lining the eggplant to the bottom of the springform pan, but in the end it turned out great and it's dee-licious.
     I have some advice to those of you trying to make this dish. Firstly, you don't need to grill the eggplant slices, I pan fried mine and it worked just as well. Secondly, make sure you choose two long eggplants, if its too short your slices won't be able to reach the edge of the pan. Finally, I used regular mozarella and Parmesan cheese so I wouldn't have to go on a goose hunt trying to find the speciality stuff and it worked fine.
     Overall, it's a great dish and I really enjoyed making it.
    Great recipe, I made it with sweet turkey sausage.
    Absolutely beautiful presentation! Mine also held together perfectly. I made my own marinara sauce which I think helped the dish. Beautiful to the eye, but really just a regular dish made to look fancy.
    This was a very tasty dish, but did not hold together and make quite a mess in the oven. I suspect my eggplant preparation was to blame. Be sure not to slice it too thin and overlap enough to create a seal. I used baby eggplant to it was rather short which made it even more difficult to get good coverage.
    have made this twice and perfection each time!!!! i didnt have sausage the 2nd time, i used organic ground beef and seasoned with herbs d' provence ;0 i grilled the eggplant on my gas outdoor grill which seemed faster; seemed like i used more salt than the recipe called for! i have made several of Giada's recipes and each time they are a huge hit with my friends and family!!!!!!
    This was easier to make them I thought. Gorgeous, elegant, delicious and impressive! There is almost no way to botch this up, just don't let your eggplant slices tear in the middle. LOVE IT!!!
    Lovely, time consuming but the enjoyment is in the making and of course eating.
    This was a great recipe. My family loved it and was not very difficult (if you are an experienced chef. Will make it again for a special event!
     Love it!
    This dish is amazing, and not that difficult if you're a seasoned kitchen aficionado...hobbyist! It was a bit time consuming, but well worth the effort.  
    I made the filling the day before, the let it rest in the fridge, allowing the flavors to really come together.  
    My only note, is to make sure you get one large (long eggplant and one medium. The larger fold building the sides that wrap around for the timbale. Also, DO add red chili flakes (1 TBLS to the recipe. Other than that just follow the instructions as so and it will be splendid. We drank the remaining Marsala while eating and it was like being back in Italy dining in a quaint garden or Agriturismo. Thanks Giada!
    I made this recipe and was thrilled! Show stopper and delicious! I cooked for 50 min. and let set for 30 min. Came out beautiful and did not fall apart. I used 4 medium sized eggplant and had just enough
    It turned out beautifully! It looked just like the photo and tasted fantastic! I made for friends that we are traveling to Italy with. My guests and I prepped and had vino, then waited for the masterpiece. It was the most impressive looking dinner I have ever created. Followed the specific directions and I would not say difficult to make, but a bit time consuming. We let set about 15 minutes before eating and it stood on its own perfect, even after slicing.
    I would have to agree with Christine. Sorry I'm late posting, since I made this last month. It was "Giada month" at our house and I made at least 4 of her recipes each week.
     This was disappointing. I used 2 large eggplants, and felt it could have used a third one. It took at least 35 minutes for it to set. The flavor was good after I spiced it up a little with crushed red pepper and a little chili oil.
    Do you guys really test these things? As it was presented, I had to put this back in the oven 2 more X's trying to get a crust on the outside layer. This should be in the oven at a minimum of 375 for 1 hour 15 mins. AND depending on the size of the eggplant, you may need more than 2. I made do with what I had today, When I released it from the springform pan I immediately placed it back on a baking sheet to set. Come on. Some of us are really serious about making these recipes!!  
    Christine Erengis  
    Chicago, Il
    I loved this recipe!!! This combines all things tasty, like eggplant, pork and beef, cheese and pasta!!! It is a bit time consuming for the prep work, but after that's all done, its a breeze to put it all together. The flavour is great and I do recommend letting it stand to set up after coming out of oven for at least 30 minutes or a bit longer. And it looks just the picture when you slice it!!! I served this up with a big green salad and some great crusty bread!! Everyone loved it!! Since then, I've made this another couple of times and its come out just the first one!! Delish!!!
    I made it for the first time and it tasted wonderful. However, it did fall apart on me. It didn't change the taste, but I didn't get the wow factor on the presentation. Anyone have any suggestions as how to keep it together? I'll make it again regardless, but I was just curious.
    While I have discovered I do not like eggplant or even working with eggplant, I rather like the pasta part of this recipe. I could not find smoke mozzarella where I live, so I improvised with half regular mozzarella and half shredded smoked Gouda. Seemed to work well. Used sweet Italian sausage. Would recommend this with a warning to the cook on the time it takes to deal with the eggplant. If I had to make it again with the eggplant, I would definitely peel it before cooking it.
    Tasty? What did you think? Time consuming, but turned out excellent. We loved it. Defininately, a keeper. It does require 3 eggplants, though.
    Definitely tasty!!! Worked perfectly! May use sweet Italian sausage next time. This will be one of our new favorites!!!
    First off, this does not fit into a 9" springform pan, I filled up a 13X9 casserole dish with all of this. Second of all, this is very delicious. Wonderful!
    One of my favs! I use leftover pasta and improvise on that part. Usually anything will work. Its not that difficult and kind of fun to prepare. Served on a platter, it raises your culinary skills! Impressive to see and eat.
    this was one of the best finds on the website. I am a vegetarian and had quite a lot of fun figuring out what veggies I can replace with meat. I went with red and yellow peppers, broccoli and olives. Though my timbale was a tad loosely packed and it crumbled a little when I served, the dish came out beautifully.
    Overall the recipe is great. It's not difficult to do, but I cook ALL THE TIME! The recipe (and I've made it three times in the last couple of weeks) needs far more eggplant than the recipe calls for; so purchase accordingly! I also added some red pepper chili flakes, a bit of cayenne, fresh oregano in addition to the basil, and a bit more of the smoked Mozzarella. All in all.. fabulous WOW factor and very good!
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