I met up with Giorgio Locatelli to sort out this year's BSquareB Berkeley Square Ball menu, which we're putting together. It's in July and raises money for the Prince's Trust. Giorgio started telling me about a regional pasta pie that I'd heard of before but never tried. It's very traditional and seasonal and he's thinking of offering it to the summer party-goers. The best way I can think of describing it is as a kind of macaroni cheese in a pasta casing. Timpano is cooked at home for a festive celebration, the ingredients changing with the season, rather than something you'd find in a restaurant.
Giorgio told me that it normally contains a few internal bits and pieces such as the gizzards from ducks and chickens, but as with our pastry pies you can adapt the filling to suit the season or the festivities. I've used the first of the season's morels, spring leeks and wild garlic, which is a bit extravagant I know, but you could easily put some peas, broad beans and herbs in for a summer feast.
80g pancetta, or streaky bacon cut into 1/2cm dice
300ml hot milk
300ml hot chicken stock
40g freshly grated Parmesan
2 young leeks, or 4-5 baby leeks, shredded
4-5 tbsp olive oil
200g morels or other wild mushrooms, cleaned, washed if necessary and dried
A handful of wild garlic leaves, torn
2-3 tbsp double cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
120g macaroni, cooked
6-7 lasagne sheets, cooked
3-4 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
Gently cook the pancetta in the butter for 3-4 minutes without colouring. Add the flour and stir for a minute or so then gradually stir in the hot milk and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, season and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, giving it an occasional whisk to prevent lumps forming, until it's thick.
Meanwhile gently cook the leeks in 2tbsp of the olive oil for 3-4 minutes with a lid on until soft. Add the morels and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes until the mushrooms have softened then add the wild garlic leaves and stir for a minute.
Mix the leeks and mushrooms into the sauce with the macaroni, cream and Parmesan and season to taste if necessary.
Brush an oven-proof pudding basin or oven-proof dish, large enough to fit the filling, with olive oil. Scatter it with the breadcrumbs then line it with the sheets of lasagne leaving some overlapping the bowl to fold over the top.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5. Pour the macaroni mixture into the lined dish and fold over the lasagne sheets. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
To serve turn out on to a warmed flat plate and cut into wedges and serve.