I really debated making this a formal part of the series. Usually, when I do an Eat This While You Read That post, I’m highlighting a single author (or editor!) and a dish they chose (not necessarily one from the book, just one they like) in the recipe and post. This is celebrating an island, the anthology it inspired, and giving readers a chance to taste for themselves the excellence that is Malta.
That, and this is part of a series rather than a single recipe. Which, given the anthology has a dozen authors, is oddly appropriate as I depart from my usual format. You’ll find the first in the series, Torta tal Lampuki, here. The next one for the sourdough Ftira will be up on Wednesday.
Let’s get started! Do you have your copy of Ghosts of Malta on hand?
You’ll also want to gather a family or party or perhaps just a gaggle of random people, because this recipe will feed a dozen, easily. Maybe more with side dishes. On the other hand, you could cut it in half and still have enough for the whole family.
- 2 lbs penne or macaroni, cooked until just before al dente
- 2 large onions, chopped
- enough garlic (I used 6-8 cloves)
- 1 1/2 lb ground beef
- 8 oz chopped cooked bacon (or real bacon bits)
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
- handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Bay leaf
- 4 hardboiled eggs
- 6 eggs, beaten lightly
- 1 1/2 c grated parmesan
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1 box puff pastry, or shortcrust pastry
In a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease (olive oil if you’re out!) fry the chopped onions and garlic until translucent.
Brown the ground beef in this, until cooked through, along with the cumin, cinnamon, and cloves. Without draining, add in the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and chopped herbs. Simmer until reduced if necessary.
In a very large bowl, mix together the sauce, the undercooked pasta, the bacon, and the chopped hardboiled eggs until well combined. Slowly pour the beaten eggs over this, and mix to coat well.
Roll out the puff pastry sheets to fit your pan. They will roll out very thin, or you can use shortcrust pastry and roll to desired thickness. Line the bottom of the pan. I was using a very large lasagna pan, and you’ll see the sides don’t want to stay up. As you scoop in the filling, use it like a dam to hold up the sides, then fill the middle until it’s all level. Cover with the other sheet of pastry, decorating if desired and brushing with a bit of beaten egg.
Bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes or until top is golden brown. Allow to cool for a while before cutting to serve. Cooling overnight, then reheating at a half hour in a moderate oven will allow pretty, sharp-edged cuts, but most people don’t mind if it’s not beautiful.
Serve with more parmesan, ftira, and a side salad! Read Ghosts of Malta and taste the action while you munch on Timpana.