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I first saw this recipe in the cookbook Cucina & Famiglia, out of that cookbook came the signature Timpano that made the movie “Big Night” famous. I’ve been making that Timpano for years, and even did a post on it here. Its huge, it feeds 16 people and great for a party.
In the same book there’s also a vegetarian version that I have been wanting to try for just as long. I think I was intimidated by the wrapping of the eggplant and all, so I just put it on my list of things I wanted to make.
Then a couple weeks ago I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this Eggplant Timbale on her show, she talked about how her Grandfather, Dino De Laurentiis, made this all the time for their family. I got inspired right then to make it, and I made it the very next day!
I sort of combined a little of both versions together, and came up with this. You can easily find her recipe by going to Food TV and put a search in for Eggplant Timbale, and it will come up.

Giada’s recipe called for 2 eggplants, that didn’t seem enough to me so I grilled about 4, and it was just enough. Depending on the size and length of each piece you definitely don’t want to run out in the middle of doing this. You want to make sure the pieces are long enough to drape over a 9″ spring form pan.

The filling is basically, 1/2 lb. of pasta cooked al’dente mixed together with a marinara, a little Marsala wine, peas, I put in some Italian sausage and a dry packed fresh mozzarella, along with grated romano, Giada used a smoked mozzarella in hers.

The spring form pan which has been lined with the grilled eggplant, filled with the pasta filling, and now folded over into a neat little package is now ready for the oven! 350 Degrees, for about 1/2 hr, till warmed through and cheese inside melts.

After you let it rest a good 10 min, release the pan. Everything molds together perfectly!

It all stayed together when I cut into it. Just use a serrated knife and gently cut it.

You don’t have to add meat to it at all, you can make this completely vegetarian.

Can I tell you, the taste was out of this world, we loved it! It was light, and the flavors of the grilled eggplant along with the Marsala wine, sausage, marinara was wonderful, and it was just as good the next day, and the next. Yes, Hubby ate it 3 days in a row he loved it that much.

Not only does it taste good, but I think it looks spectacular don’t you? Not because I made it, but just how the eggplant looks overlapped with the skin on for a little color, the grill marks and all of the above.

I would highly recommend you try this, all you need is a little salad on the side and you’re good to go!

Buon Appetito!!

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  1. I prepared this today. Perfecto!
    Alternating layers of different shaped sauced pasta (rigatoni, farfalle and occhi di pernice), Italian sausage, cheese and a middle layer of melanzana.
    Another inspiring film on a par with Big Night is Dinner Rush with Danny Aileo. Ciao.

  2. kimberly mangan says

    Now you just need a little Louis Prima. Big Night anyone?

  3. It’s summer here in Australia and I have a huge crop of eggplant ready to harvest in the next couple of days, I AM MAKING THIS!!

  4. Greg, Did you take any photo’s? I would love to see how it all turned out, letting it rest was a great idea! Glad it all worked out for you!

  5. I just set out to try this today – I was a little worried because I didn’t have a spring form pan but I went ahead with it in spite of my short comings. I used a 2 1/4 qt cast iron sauce pot and forgot to grease it before putting everything in – but after letting it rest for an hour I was able to flip it onto a serving plate without damaging the form of the dish at all. [on a side note the proper name is Pasta ‘Ncasciata (encased)].

  6. My boyfriend’s Dad and I are preparing for our first timpano this Thanksgiving. What an original idea to use egglpant instead of pasta or a pastry dough-CiaoBella!

  7. Made this yesterday for my wife’s folks visiting from WV. Wow what rave reviews, the best response I’ve gotten from anything I’ve made.

    Funnily enough I discovered this recipe after looking for anagrams for the word ‘MAINTOP’ during a scrabble game.

    Cheers to serendipity!

    Also our grill is small so I eventually switched my eggplant prep operation from the grill to 3 skillets I coated with Pam on medium-high heat. If you have a large grill, definitely take advantage of it.

    Also I used smoked mozzarella and this gave a nice flavor.

    Lastly don’t underestimate the value of a good pasta when doing this recipe. I invested in ‘fancy’ penne (Rao’s) and this I thought really made the taste and texture of the interior much more interesting for us.

  8. This is beautiful! And I love eggplant. So happy to have stumbled upon your site (search one site..find another). Win-win situation. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Marvelous!

  9. WOW. I’m impressed. That is so professional looking. I bet it was really good.

  10. Timballo of maccheroni
    very well

  11. Eggplant is my favorite veggie! I welcome all kinds of recipes where it is used:) And this one looks so delicious! Great recipe! I should try it to satisfy my eggplant craving palate:)

  12. Love your timbale, Marie! I fried my eggplant slices when I made mine, but I like the grilling aspect, which I will try next time. And I love your contorni! Pass me more sides, please!

  13. i am officially smitten with this dish. and although it goes without saying, your eggplant prowess and awesome pictures are most impressive. 🙂

  14. OMG! I still have 8 servings left of the last Timpano stored safely in the freezer! I guess it’s time to clean it out and make some room. This looks amazing, as usual, and I can feel the inspiration rising. Stay tuned!

  15. You did an awesome job!!! This is something that you almost don’t find anymore on an Italian table!!!

  16. It’s pathetic I know but all I can muster is: wow!

  17. That looks outrageously delicious, Marie! I think Ciao Italia has a similar timbale with potatoes that I always wanted to make but never did. Eggplant sounds much better though.This would be perfect for a Sat. afternoon Godfather marathon.

  18. Aubergine, Aubergine! Sorry Eggplant! Eggplant! How much I love this vegetable! Your timpano looks to die for!
    I’ll try it as soon as the aubergines will be on season here. Never done it or tried in my life!
    Un bacione

  19. That looks amazing Marie! By the way, I loved “Big Night” great movie.

  20. Absolutely nice an delicious. I love eggsplants, and looks wonderful Marie!!!xxGloria

  21. Wow, does that look amazingly delicious! You are the timpano queen! I’m going to have to work up my nerve and try one. 😉

  22. Delicious! I’ve often thought about trying this, your picture has sold me on it. And yes, I’ll try out a veggie version 🙂

  23. Eggplant timpano is such a great idea! It looks really good! I am looking forward to local eggplant being in season again.

  24. Marie, this recipe looks fantastic and I’m sure it tastes the same! I love grilled eggplant and this looks like a great way to serve it to a crowd.

    Hugs, Pat

  25. The more I visit your blog, the more I’m convinced that I need to try eggplant. This is such a creative recipe; I loved how you made an eggplant crust! Also, I really like adding peas to dishes that feature tomatoes, they the dish a natural sweetness :).

  26. You should publish a cookbook with all your good food ideas.With the pictures you take, it would be a best seller.

  27. MAMA MIA!!! Brava! This looks incredible and reminds me of some of the Sicilian timbales I’ve cooked. I am most definitely trying this one! Thanks for the wonderful post!

  28. This is amazing! I have to agree with Lorraine – you need to release a cookbook. All of your recipes & photos are incredible.

    xoxox Amy

    P.S. I’ll pre-order my book now, thank you very much!

  29. Beautiful Marie!
    What a creative dish. I hope to try it soon!

  30. WOW!!!! Marie I think it’s time you released a cookbook:) This is so impressive!!

  31. It looks fantastic!

  32. Oooh, looks yummy! I have some eggplants (almost rotting) in the fridge and now you’ve given me a great idea. Thanks!

  33. That is absolutely gorgeous! Those colors and textures! It is almost too pretty ro eat!

    I loved “The Big Night”!

  34. you are such a genius – what a wonderful-looking meal.

  35. They say you eat with your eyes first, what a gorgeous dish !

  36. This is an amazing presentation! I am with Peter – forget the salad! 🙂 Grilled eggplant? Can it get much better? Yummmmm!

  37. This is the biggest WOW dish I’ve seen in a long time! What a terrific concept. I can’t wait to try it out on hubby. What a pretty meal too. Great job 🙂

  38. I could just burst into tears this looks so amazing!

    You’ve humbled me!

  39. I love eggplant and I love Giada too, so what can I say? Magnificent!

  40. Oh my gosh Marie, I saw the same show, printed out the recipe, but have not got to it yet. But you have just inspired me to “get it on” this week! Yours looks great! Nice job! Giada would be proud!

  41. That looks so tastey! I bet the eggplant lends to such a wonderful flavor. 🙂

  42. This is just one of those show stopping recipes Marie:D

  43. This looks delicious! I’d eat it for three days too!

  44. Haven’t made one yet. But you got me interested last December with your first one, now this. Not sure which I like better. No matter, I am definitely in the mood for grilled eggplant thanks to your two latest posts.

  45. Wow this looks like a crowd pleaser!

  46. you are my hero!
    This is amazing (and hubby is drooling…hehe)
    Thanks for the step by step instructions and pics…I may have to try this, on a day I feel very adventurous…

    It looks wonderful 🙂

  47. Oh awesome , another Timpano ! I love it that you introduced me to this. With the eggplant it looks so elegant. I would add some sausage just like you. I see a resurgance of the timbales.

  48. Marie, you are the timpano queen! I like this version a lot 🙂

  49. I absolutely adore eggplant and this certainly looks like a winner to me!!! YUM!

  50. Deam Martin should have sang, “mama loves Timpano”!

    No salad required here…make room for a second wedge!

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