Pasta Timballo is an Italian meal that varies from region to region in the use of ingredients and sauces. Timballos involve several steps of preparation to achieve a baked “pie” that includes pasta, rice or potatoes as a base, using cheese and/or eggs as a binder to hold it all together. Often, the timballo is moistened and flavored with a Bolognese sauce or béchamel sauce or in this case both! The Timballo is similar to the bomba or a pasticcio (which is baked in a pastry crust), or even an English casserole (but saying so could start a culinary feud of sorts). I am not posting the recipe to this one just yet because it is a recipe in progress.
A timbale or timballo can also be wrapped in thinly sliced vegetables like eggplant or zucchini for a presentation that is a bit more formal.
This one, however, is penne pasta in a tomato-wine sauce with poached, shredded chicken. The tomato chicken sauce coats the first layer of pasta, and then a béchamel sauce including spinach and winter flavoring is added. One more layer of tomato-chicken sauce goes atop the spinach-béchamel layer and the whole casserole binds together with shredded Provolone, cubed Mozzarella, eggs lightly beaten and a good handful of Parmesan cheese.
Serve with a light, fruity wine and some bread on the side to max out your carb allotment for the week! Buon Appetito!