Neapolitan zite timbale
A timbale is a sublime example of southern Italian cuisine, in particular of Sicily and Campania; the origins of the name and the methods of preparation derive from an Arabian instrument, a sort of cylindrical drum equal in height and diameter, an ideal receptacle for preparing a meal fit for a king, abundantly filled with pasta, fine meats, elaborate sauces. Very chic in the noble homes of the Bourbon capital, it became a truncated cone shape in the late 18th century, in order to make it easier to release the preparation from the mould. Unlike pies and lasagne, also having a rich filling, the timbale is served in a shortcrust pastry case. In gastronomic literature you can find traces of timbales in the writings of Vincenzo Corrado and Ippolito Cavalcanti; then as now the timbale is synonymous of a festive day, when rich and sumptuous dishes are passed around the table. A long and painstaking preparation, beautifully portrayed in Stanley Tucci's film "Big Night". There are many variations deriving from the original Arab drum; the Sicilian version being the most famous, with anellini (small rings of pasta), meat sauce and aubergines, and the Neapolitan version, prepared with ziti (pasta tubes), meatballs, meat sauce and fior di latte mozzarella.