Pastina Timbale with Zucchini

Sharing is caring!

pastina timbale with zucchini

This dish is called  pastina timbale , a timbale is is a mold and food can be cooked or placed inside it. A pasta timbale is great for entertaining and it’s such a fun way to serve up little tiny pasta, or pastina as we call it in my family.

Even though you can make this in individual ramekins I prefer the more dramatic presentation using one large bowl, and it’s easier!

pastina timbale with zucchini This is my version of Michael Chiarello’s recipe for pastina timbale, he used a pound of diced Italian sausage folded into the pasta and sauce, I prefer using zucchini  instead of meat, it’s lighter and I think it pairs well with the delicate pastina, but you can be creative in using your favorite ingredients.

You want to sautee the zucchini first getting it to a nice deep golden brown color, then fold it into the mixture of cooked pasta, cheese and a some marinara preferably flavored with garlic and basil, I always opt for homemade but if you can get a good store bought one go ahead, make your life easier!

This is perfect for a summer buffet because you don’t have to worry about it sitting out at room temperature because nothing will spoil.

pastina timbale with zucchini Line a bowl with crispy and flavorful breadcrumbs, then press the pasta mixture into your mold.

pastina timbale with zucchini Let it sit for fifteen minutes and then it’s time to un-mold.

pastina timbale with zucchini TA-DA! Isn’t she pretty and how easy is that? It’s all about the presentation here.

pastina timbale with zucchini

And it tastes crazy good!

Proud Italian Cook is also on Instagram follow me to see what I’m cooking up during the week.


Pastina Timbale with Zucchini
  • 1 lb of tiny pasta, I like the round shape
  • 4 medium zucchini, all seeds removed and then diced small
  • olive oil for sauteeing zucchini, crisping the breadcrumbs and for brushing
  • 1 cup of good bread crumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced small or grated
  • ½ cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • ¾ cup of grated romano or parmesan cheese
  • a sprinkle or 2 of pepperoncino, (optional)
  • 3 full cups of prepared marinara sauce, garlic and basil flavored, homemade or an exceptional store bought
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • basil and parsley leaves for decorating
  1. In a skillet drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil,add the garlic over medium heat till golden then pour in the breadcrumbs stirring until lightly toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. remove from heat, let it cool then add ¼ cup each of parsley and the grated cheese, then drizzle 2 more tablespoons of oil, toss and mix.
  2. Brush a large round bowl with olive oil, mine was 8 inches.
  3. Press breadcrumb mixture along the sides and bottom of the bowl evenly. Set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and on high heat cook your diced zucchini until nice and golden, keep stirring and watching it only takes a few minutes, set aside.
  5. Boil your pasta according to package directions, don't overcook it,then drain.
  6. Heat your sauce at the same time.
  7. Get a different bowl then add the drained pasta, the sauce, the tablespoon of butter, the ½ cup of grated cheese and the additional ¼ cup of parsley, toss together then fold in the sauteed zucchini.
  8. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  9. Spoon mixture into breadcrumb lined bowl, evenly distribute it along the sides and bottom, pressing down lightly.
  10. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
  11. Un-mold onto a platter then decorate with basil and parsley leaves.
  12. Enjoy!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sharing is caring!

Italian Sauces My Way E-Book


  1. It looks delicious.

  2. Thank-you!

  3. Wow, I have never heard of this but it looks and sounds wonderful! Can I use Panko for the breadcrumbs and do you add the pepperoncino in with the zucchini, etc.?

    • Chris, panko would be fine and the pepperoncino yes add it to the zucchini or even the sauce, to your liking of course.

  4. ❤️ Looks amazing!

  5. I can’t begin to tell you how delicious this looks! I have a bag of this same pasta in the cupboard and now I know what I”m going to do with it. Thank you!

  6. Incredible!!! So lovely and yet not intimidating!

  7. It likes like an Italian igloo!! Just scrape a little off the wall whenever you get hungry! 🙂 It looks absolutely beautiful and it would certainly be a centerpiece on a buffet but it wouldn’t last long. Great recipe!!!

  8. OMG this looks amazing

  9. Wow! Such a pretty presentation!

  10. Marie – It’s a showstopper. Do you serve hot, or at room temp?

Please leave a comment


Rate this recipe: