A recipe from the Good Food collection.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) in total
2 chicken thighs
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons white wine
175 g (6 oz) button mushrooms, sliced
75 g (2½ oz/⅔ cup) provolone cheese, grated
9 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons thick (double/heavy) cream
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) ziti
1. Using a small, sharp knife, score a small cross in the base of each tomato. Plunge into boiling water for 20 seconds, then drain and plunge into iced water to cool. Peel the skin away from the cross, then cut the flesh into small pieces.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat for 7 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the tomatoes and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the chicken breasts and thighs, the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and stir well. Stir in the wine, then cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 10–15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, turning once during cooking. Remove the chicken from the saucepan and cook the sauce, uncovered, until it has reduced by about half. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and leave the sauce to cool to room temperature.
4. Pull the chicken meat from the bones, shred the meat and return to the sauce. Stir in the cheese, eggs, cream and parsley. Season to taste.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lightly grease a 1.5 litre (52 fl oz/6 cup) round baking dish.
6. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well. Use the pasta to line the baking dish — arrange the pasta, one piece at a time, in a single layer, starting in the middle of the base, then working outwards to completely cover the base and side. Make sure there are no gaps.
7. Fill the dish with the chicken mixture, then cover with a sheet of greased foil and bake for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the timballo is firm. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for a few minutes, then invert onto a plate to serve.