Molded Macaroni Casserole Recipe | Italian Recipes | PBS Food

Molded Macaroni Casserole

The casserole is fun and easy to assemble, and makes an impressive statement. Put it together all at once, or in stages. Watch Mary Ann Esposito make Molded Macaroni Casserole at!


Yield: 8-10 servings

Occasion: ,


  • 4 cups cooked elbow macaroni (2 cups dry)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced mozzarella cheese (fior di latte)
  • 1/2cup diced sharp provolone cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce, plus extra to pass
  • 7 slices prosciutto or 1/4 pound pancetta cut into thin rounds
  • 3/4 pound ground chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 slices stale white bread, crusts removed
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons minced basil
  • 1/4 cup minced Italian flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic


  1. Combine the macaroni,mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom ofthe pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with the prosciutto or pancetta slices, overlapping them. Set aside.
  3. Combine the ground meats in a large bowl. Dip the bread slices quickly in a small bowl of water and squeeze out the excess. Crumble the bread over the meats. Add the eggs,basil, parsley, salt, pepper, pecorino cheese and garlic. Mix gently with your hands to blend the ingredients. (Can be prepared and refrigerated a day ahead.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. Wet your hands and pat about 2/3 of the meat mixture evenly over the prosciutto or pancetta. Besure to spread the meat to the edges of the pan so there are no gaps.
  6. Carefully spread the macaroni mixture over the meat. Pat it down firmly with your hands or a wooden spoon.
  7. Use a rolling pin to roll out the remaining meat between two sheets of wax paper into a 9 1/2-inch round to fit the top of the pan.
  8. Carefully pull back one sheet of the wax paper and invert the meat over the top of the pan. Pullback the remaining sheet of wax paper. Neatly press the meat along the edges of the pan to form a seal.
  9. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.Remove the aluminum foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until the top is nicely browned.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Let the pan cool for 5minutes.
  11. Place a round serving platter larger than the pan over the top and invert the casserole onto the platter. Use a pot holder to release the spring and carefully lift off the sides. Remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment paper.
  12. Serve the timballo cut into wedges and reheat and pass extra tomato sauce on the side.