TIMPANA WITH A TWIST

Timpana had been a new discovery to me, and I first noticed it in all the pastizzerias when I was in Malta visiting family at a young age. I was brought up on għaġin il-forn (baked pasta) which was a similar version, but without the pastry shell.

Timpana is a traditional Maltese pasta dish made with a special type of meat and tomato sauce. Penne or similar tube pasta is then mixed in, as well as cheese, egg and seasoning. It is then encased in a pastry shell and baked in the oven until golden brown. Its origin seems to lie in Italy’s timballo. Though traditionally served at Christmas, timpana is now made all year round.

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Image credit: Marlene Zammit 

 

I wanted to come up with something a little lighter, and so have opted for a tuna version. I know, it’s not traditional – but why does it have to be? I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.

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Image credit: Marlene Zammit 

 

Tuna Timpana

I use a 23cm cake tin with removable sides for this dish, but you can also use a baking dish.

Ingredients:

350gr penne pasta, or anything similar
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato purée (kunserva)
1 large red pepper, diced
30 green olives, chopped
2 tablespoons capers
200gr tinned tuna in oil
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
3 sprigs of mint leaves, chopped
170gr grated cheddar cheese
2 rolls of puff pastry (375gr per roll)
1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Method:

#1: Boil the pasta for seven minutes, or as instructed on the packet, but make sure that it’s slightly under-cooked. Drain and leave aside.

#2: In a large frying pan, fry the onions for five minutes with some olive oil.

#3: Add in the garlic and tomato purée, and fry for another minute.

#4: Add in the peppers and fry for another five minutes.

#5: Mix in the olives, capers and tuna with its own oil.

#6: Preheat the oven to 180℃.

#7: Add in the chopped tomatoes and fry until they reduce a little and a thick sauce has developed. This will take an additional five minutes.

#8: Add in the herbs and some seasoning.

#9: Prepare your dish by lining a tray or cake tin with the pastry. Make sure you join the edges together. Use a fork to make holes in the pastry.

#10: Mix the tuna sauce and the penne together, and then add in the cheese. Season again if necessary.

#11: Pour the pasta mixture into your dish. Cover with the remaining pastry and pinch the edges together to seal. Use a fork to make holes in the top of the pastry.

#12: Brush the pastry with egg yolk, and place in the oven for an hour.

#13: Allow to rest and serve.

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Image credit: Marlene Zammit