Timballo del Gattopardo – macaroni pie

The Leopard’s macaroni pie
  • Main
  • medium
  • Serves10
  • 1 hour 30 minutes


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A grand, luxurious and filling dish of macaroni and meat encased in pastry, Timballo del Gattopardo translates as ‘The Leopard’s Pie’ and is named after Giuseppe di Tomasi di Lampedusa, a nineteenth century Sicilian prince who wrote Il Gattopardo, one of Italy’s most famous novels. The original recipe contained eggs from the ovary of a chicken, but hard boiled eggs work just as well today.

Preheat an oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Before you start cooking, soak the dried porcini in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain and chop
First prepare the veal roasting juices. Add the oil to a casserole dish, place over a medium-high heat and once hot, add the veal. Caramelise all over for 2 minutes, pour in the wine and stir in the rosemary and vegetables. Place the lid on the dish and roast in the oven for 1 hour
Drain the vegetables and meat in a large sieve and collect the cooking juices in a jug. Keep the oven on at the same temperature to cook the pie. Reserve the meat for another meal
To prepare the filling, warm the olive oil in a large casserole dish and fry the onions until tender, for about 10 minutes. Add the chicken and cook for a further 7 minutes, then add the chicken livers, hearts and the soaked porcini
Cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly, then add the ham and wine and cook for 10 minutes, or until the wine has evaporated a little. Add the veal cooking juices and the hard-boiled egg yolks, stirring them very gently
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 5–6 minutes or until barely al dente. Drain and set aside
Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out the shortcrust dough until about 4mm thick. Use about 3/4 of it to line a large greased dish of about 25cm in diameter, 12cm high. The remaining pastry should be enough for the lid
Mix the pasta with all of the filling mixture and add the Parmesan. Pour the mixture carefully into the pastry-lined pie dish. Cover with the pastry lid, seal at the sides and make a couple of holes in the centre
Brush with a little of the liquid from the sauce and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve hot
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