[WATCH] Maltese timpana

Watch Pippa Mattei, and her husband John, make a Christmas timpana the Maltese way – with chicken livers and giblets and pigs’ brains! (If you can’t stomach the offal, just leave it out.) 

Watch Pippa Mattei make a traditionally Maltese timpana

Maltese Timpana

Serves 12


Bolognese sauce

  • 1 kilo minced beef and pork, mixed
  • 200g chicken livers
  • 6 rashers bacon, chopped
  • 1 Maltese sausage, skinned
  • 500g chicken giblets, cleaned, boiled and chopped (optional)
  • 1 small kidney, boiled and chopped (order from the butcher)
  • 4-6 tins tomatoes, chopped or whole
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée (kunserva)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 kg ‘tube’ macaroni (preferably Ziti or Ziti Tagliati)
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 4 eggs, raw, beaten
  • 2 pig brains
  • 2 large aubergines
  • 1kg puff pastry
  • 200g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper


  1. To make the Bolognese sauce, fry the onions and garlic in some olive oil until golden.
  2. Meanwhile put pork and beef mince in another pot and cook until browned.
  3. Pour out excess liquid and set cooked meat aside.
  4. Into the cooked onion and garlic, add the chopped bacon, with the rind removed, then the chicken livers and cook for a few minutes until the livers change colour, then take these out, chop up and return to pan.
  5. Add the prepared chopped giblets and then the boiled, also chopped, kidney.
  6. Fry all these ingredients until well cooked, then add the cooked minced beef and pork and the skinned Maltese sausage.
  7. To this, add the tinned tomatoes, the kunserva, grated carrot and sugar.
  8. Simmer for a good 90 minutes, until the sauce is a rich colour with a glaze. Set aside. (This Bolognese can be prepared ahead of time then heated through.)
  9. Slice the aubergines, leaving the skin on. Place in a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 minutes to drain. Rinse well and pat dry.
  10. Fry until brown in a little oil. Set aside on absorbent paper.
  11. Rinse the pig brains in cold, salted water, making sure there are no bones left. Boil these in fresh water until they are pale in colour and cooked through (about 5 minutes).
  12. When all this is done, roll out the defrosted puff pastry to line a well-greased, high-sided pot, or very large cake tin that will fit in your oven.
  13. Boil the pasta until just cooked through (‘al dente’). Drain the pasta very well and put into a large mixing bowl.
  14. Immediately mix in the prepared Bolognese sauce mixing with a large wooden spoon (so as not to break the pasta tubes).
  15. Add to this the raw, beaten eggs and then the grated Parmesan seasoning with abundant sprinklings of salt and pepper.
  16. Carefully fit the rolled out pastry into the prepared pot, or tin, leaving enough overlap to wrap around the top of the dish.
  17. Into this, put a quarter of the macaroni mix. Then place some aubergine on top of this, plus a hard-boiled egg and a piece of cooked brain.
  18. Add more macaroni, aubergine, hard-boiled egg and brain until all the ingredients are mixed in. Top up with the rest of the macaroni mix and press down gently.
  19. Wrap the pastry overlap onto the top of this, folding over so that the macaroni is completely covered.
  20. Bake immediately in a moderate oven for one hour. Set aside, covered with foil, in a cool place overnight.
  21. On Christmas day cook for another two hours until the pastry is golden.
  22. Turn out onto a round baking tray, and if the underneath needs more cooking, put it back into the oven for another 15 minutes, otherwise, slip onto a large flat serving platter.
  23. Once ready, allow the Timpana to settle for 15 mins before slicing and serving.

This recipe first appeared on Gourmet Today TV, aired on TVM on 19 December, 2014.