It’s been a month full of “distractions” and events that made me happy but also preoccupied, in some occasions. I neglected my blog and spent less time in the kitchen. Napoli is a city that teases you with lots of mouthwatering and very cheap street food options, why should one even bother cooking here? Feed me only my daily baked pasta (timballo di maccheroni).

News: I’ve got a job offer.


It went ALMOST all according to the plans: some travelling first (remember my Asian trip?), job interviews and some family time in between. All in all, I handled my rather long period of unemployment pretty well. I did go through some moments of prostration, of course. After all, packing all your belongings in a few suitcases and leaving for good the city where all your friends are, isn’t supposed to make anybody feel uncomfortable? I had no home, no job and certainties for a few months.


When I eventually receive a job offer from a big company, I think I’m happy because I can finally start settling down. The day I sign and send the job contract I receive an email from Japan. Maybe you know how much I like Japan and remember that a few months ago I applied and re-applied for a research position in Osaka. The project got funded only now. They want me on board. Now. Shall I call this timing? More like a clash of dreams for me.


I’m in Malaga now and all the sorrow I felt the day I took that big decision, is well gone. Let me just say it was a very tough call, I felt stressed and at a loss as to what was best to do. Also, I hate saying “no” and I feel more comfortable when I am rejected :).

My choice? I decided not to live too far from my family in Italy and accept a more secure but still very challenging job opportunity. Even though Japan remains a distant dream I believe I made the right decision.


p.s. Malaga is another great choice I made :). Have you ever visited Andalucia? It is such a beautiful place. Great food, sun, sea, art, smiles, happy people, music (someone is playing the Shostakovich waltz outside my door now) and I would like to live here one day…

Timballo di Maccheroni


  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 14 ounce tomato puree (passata)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 11 ounces rigatoni or penne about 3/4's of 1 pound package
  • 1 12 ounces ball provola (smoked mozzarella cheese)
  • 5 basil leaves chopped
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 medium eggplants
  • Olive oil for finishing
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for finishing


  • In saucepan over medium, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add aubergines and stir fry until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano and salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook about 5 minutes.
  • In saucepan heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add tomato puree, oregano and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and let sauce simmer about 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch springform pan.
  • Bring large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously. Add pasta and cook until al dente (6-8 minutes). Drain.
  • In a large bowl combine pasta, sauce, smoked mozzarella, basil, aubergines and grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well and transfer the pasta mixture in the baking pan. Drizzle with more parmesan on top.
  • Bake timballo, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving (it will be loose in structure if you serve it hot!). If you cool it completely, the timballo will be firmer in structure. Remove timballo from baking pan. Transfer to serving dish. Cut and serve into big wedges.

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  1. I don’t blame you! I would be eating out all of the time if I lived in Napoli too. Unless you made this for me. Holy cow, it looks amazing!

    And congrats on the job! I think you made the right decision to stay close to home. Being near loved ones is so important. Plus you can always travel to Japan. 🙂

  2. Congrats on the job!! That is so exciting! Sorry that you didn’t get your dream of Japan, but that’s awesome that you get to be close to family! Family is so worth it! 🙂 Also, great recipe!! Looks delicious!!!