The name comes from French word for kettledrum (timbale). Varieties of Timballo differ from region to region, and it is sometimes known as a bomba, tortino, sartu (a Neapolitan interpretation) or pasticcio (which is used more commonly to refer to a similar dish baked in a pastry crust). It is similar to a casserole and is sometimes referred to in English as a pie or savory cake.
The dish is prepared in a dome or springform pan and eggs or cheese are used as a binder. Rice is commonly used as an ingredient in Emilia-Romagna, where the dish is referred to as a bomba and baked with a filling of pigeon or other game bird, peas, local cheese and a base of dried pasta. Crêpes are used as a base in Abruzzo, and other regions use ravioli or gnocchi. In Sicily, it's typically made with pasta and eggplant.
In popular culture
Timballo featured prominently in the 1996 film Big Night, although the dish there is referred to as timpano (a regional or family term). The movie seems to have increased the popularity of the dish.
- Schrambling, Regina (January 11, 2006). "With timballo, any night is big". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
- McKeon, Nancy (September 25, 1996). ". . . And in the Starring Role: The Timballo!". Washington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
- Zeldes, Leah A. (2010-12-01). "Eat this! Timballo Siciliano, something different to do with pasta". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Del Conte, Anna (2004). Gastronomy of Italy. Pavilion Books. ISBN 1-86205-662-5, 9781862056626 Check
- Marchetti, Domenica; Susie Cushner (2008). Big Night In: More Than 100 Wonderful Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends Italian-Style. Chronicle Books. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-8118-5929-5.
- Kasper, Lynne Rossetto; Susie Cushner (1999). The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from Italy's Farmhouse Kitchens. Simon and Schuster. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-684-81325-7.
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