Timballo is an impressive rustic Italian dish perfect for weekend entertaining. You could be very organised and cook the sauce 1 day ahead if you like, then all you need to do on the day is make the risotto, assemble and bake.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (30 votes)



  • 1 kg ripe tomatoes
  • 1 brown onion, chopped  
  • 1 carrot, sliced 
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 5 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 225 g diced pork sausage
  • 225 g diced chicken
  • 225 g diced lean pork


  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) dry white wine
  • 5½ cups chicken broth
  • freshly grated Parmigiano
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 120 g unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup dry breadcrumbs

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the sauce, place the tomatoes, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, basil and parsley in a heavy saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon, cover, then cook over very low heat for 1 hour. When cool, place in blender and add salt and sugar to taste.

Warm ⅓ of the butter and ⅓ oil in a heavy based pan over medium heat. Sauté the sausage until lightly golden brown. Remove and place on kitchen paper to drain. Repeat with each meat in the same pan. Combine tomato sauce with meats and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

To make the risotto, Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook until the onion is transparent. Add rice and stir for 2-3 minutes, add wine and cook until almost evaporated. Meanwhile, simmer broth and gradually add broth to rice, one ladleful at a time, until rice is barely tender (about 10-15 minutes). Stir through parmesan, nutmeg and adjust seasoning.

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Grease the base of a 30 x 25 cm baking dish with the butter and sprinkle over some of the breadcrumbs (shaking off and keeping any excess). 

Cover the bottom of baking dish with half the risotto. Spread the meat mixture over, cover with remaining risotto and top with remaining breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes until crust is golden brown and warmed through. Allow to stand for 5 minutes for flavours to penetrate. Serve with salad.