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A Night with Toscanini, and a Timballo Recipe

Posted in Abruzzo, Caro Diario.(dear diary..), Country House Living, cucina, cucina povere, La Dolce Vita, Pasta, recipes, the Mediterranean diet, Uncategorized, and vegetarian


(photo credits:

Under the stars, a midsummer night..with music of Toscanini, and a late dinner eaten al fresco in the warm summer breezes seemed to caress our faces as a relief from the heat of the day.

(photo credits:

Toscanini once said  “ If you want to please the critics don’t play too loud, too soft, too fast”     as a reminder that you can’t please ‘all the people all the time’

The concerto under the stars…the flutes of Toscanini… seemed to ride on each and every gentle breeze that passed….an after supper of fresco ..

Here is a meatless version of this dish..


(photo credits:

from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition:copyright 2012Art of Living, PrimaMedia, Inc/Maria Liberati

1 scallion

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small diced eggplant

1 packet Harmony Valley ‘ground beef’ prepared as directed

2 lbs. Red ripe tomatoes or 2-16 cans San Marzano tomatoes

pinch of salt

1 lb penne pasta or ziti pasta

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons milk

½ lb scamorza cheese

4 tblsps parmigiano reggiano cheese grated

1 small handful fresh basil leaves

Once Harmony Valley beef has been prepared, add in a tsp of Tuscan Picnic Spice blend or ¼ tsp rosemary, ¼ tsp thyme. Finely chop scallions. Heat 1 tblsp olive oil in saute pan. Add in scallion and eggplant. Add in Harmony Valley ground beef, broken into pieces like ground beef. Saute all until cooked, approximately 8-10 minutes over medium heat. Cut,peeel and seed tomatoes. Chop pulp into pieces. Add this pulp to ‘meat’ mixture. Cook over low heat, for approximately 40 minutes, mixing every so often. Add in pinch of salt to taste.

Cook pasta until al dente. Place flour, butter and milk in saucepan to make a smooth sauce (beschamel type sauce). Blend over low heat with wire whisk till smooth. Remove from heat. Drain pasta. Place pasta back in pasta pot. Pour tomato /’ground beef’ mixture into beschamel and stir till tomato mixture is incorporated into beschamel. Set aside.

Cut scamorza cheese into chunks and grate parmigiana cheese. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cover high ,round cake pan with parchment paper and use remaining olive oil to oil the paper. Place in 1 layer of pasta, then layer with scamorza cheese chunks, grated parmigiana cheese, finely chopped fresh basil, and a layer of tomato/beschamel sauce. Continue layering this way until finished, top layer should be a layer of grated cheese on top. Cook in oven preheated at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, To get a crunchy top, place under broiler for 2-3 minutes when done. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.


Get more recipes in the Gourmand World Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition

front cover

copyright 2012 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

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Designed by Brian Hanshaw

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