Monday, April 18, 2011


Happy Birthday Doug!

Several weeks ago I asked Doug what he wanted to do for his birthday.  He replied that he wanted to have a party and that he has always wanted to try to make Timpano from the movie Big Night.  This is one of our favorite foodie movies.  If you haven't seen the movie, here is a clip featuring Timpano:

So we began to research recipes.  As it turns out, the original dish is called Timbalo and Timpano is a  variation from Calabria (the homeland of actor Stanley Tucci who stars in the film and whose grandmother's recipe was inspiration for the film!).  We quickly discovered that everyone who posted a Timpano recipe had their own variation... so we turned ourselves loose and decided to make our own variation.  FUN!

Timpano is a giant pastry-encrusted dome of pasta and meat and cheese and eggs.  It must be baked in a large 14-inch 6-quart enamel bowl which you can buy here.  Its not really a difficult dish, but it is very time consuming.  Luckily everything can be made ahead of time except for the Timpano itself.  We started cooking on Monday night for a party on Saturday.

The result was great!  It sliced easily and beautifully and was delicious.  Make sure you have a lot of hungry people around because this makes A LOT of food.

Mama Ozzy's Timpano
serves 24 hungry people

3 lb dried Penne Pasta, cooked 1/2 the recommended time, rinsed under cold water, and tossed with Olive oil (should be made ahead of time and stored in large ziploc bags)
Mama Ozzy's Tomato Ragu Sauce (recipe follows)
Italian Sausage and mushrooms (recipe follows)
Bechamel Sauce (recipe follows)
Mama Ozzy's Turkey Meatballs (recipe follows)
8 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 pound aged sharp provolone (cut into cubes)
1 pound aged Fontina cheese (cut into cubes)
1 pound grated parmesan cheese
1 pound thinly-sliced Genoa Salami, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto ham
1/4 cup room temperature butter
1 recipe olive oil pasta dough (recipe follows)

Mama Ozzy's Tomato Ragu Sauce
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb cubed beef chuck
1 lb boneless pork country ribs, cubed
1 cup diced onion
5 cloves garlic minced
1 cup red wine
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
70 oz. diced tomatoes (preferably San Marzano; two 28 oz. cans plus one 14 oz. can)
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
salt to taste

In a large stock pot heat olive oil and heat over medium high heat.  Add 1/2 beef and brown well on all sides.  Remove beef and transfer to a large bowl.  Repeat with remaining beef and pork.  Add onion and garlic to meat drippings, reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes, scraping up any brown bits stuck to bottom of pan.  Add wine, tomato paste and canned tomatoes, oregano, rosemary and basil.  Cook until tomatoes come to a simmer.  Puree tomato mixture with an immersion blender.  Add water and return meat to sauce with any juice.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Italian Sausage and Mushrooms
1lb Italian sausage (I used chicken italian sausage)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 oz. dried morel mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 lb button mushrooms, thickly sliced
1/4 tsp thyme
2 Tbsp Marsala
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, soak dried mushrooms in boiling water.  Remove sausage from casings and fry in olive oil over medium high heat until well browned.  Remove sausage from pan, reserving drippings.  Drain morels and reserve liquid (after pouring through a double thickness of cheesecloth to remove any grit).  Fry button mushrooms in sausage drippings until golden, then add morels, reserved mushroom liquid, thyme and marsala.  Cook until liquid is reduced to a thick glaze.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add sausage to mushrooms and allow to cool before adding to Ragu.

Bechamel Sauce
1/2 cup (1 stick ) butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp freshly minced rosemary (or 1/2 Tbsp dried)

In a large saucepan melt the butter.  Add flour, stir and cook 1 minute on medium high heat.  Add milk and stir with a whisk until mixture thickens (about 5 minutes).  Add salt and white pepper and nutmeg and rosemary.  Season with additional salt if desired.

Turkey Meatballs
See Mama Ozzy's Turkey Meatball recipe, and form 2 dozen golf-ball sized meatballs.  Bake meatballs in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Cool completely

Olive oil pasta dough
4 cups flour
4 eggs
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp water + 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp kosher salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, place eggs, olive oil, 3 Tbsp water and kosher salt.  Add flour and begin mixing.  Add water 1 Tbsp at a time, as needed, until the dough puls together into a ball (you will not add all the water).  Once a dough forms, remove from mixing bowl and knead by hand on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth.  Wrap dough in plastic and let rest at room temp for 30 minutes.

Assembling and Baking the Timpano
Before doing anything, all pasta must be cooked, sauces prepared, meatballs made etc, and everything must be at room temperature.

1.  In a very large bowl, mix half the pasta with 7 cups of the tomato ragu sauce.  Add the mushrooms and sausage and stir until well combined.

2.  In a very large bowl, mix the remaining half of the pasta with the bechamel sauce, and add chopped genoa salami.

3.  On a very large, clean, lightly floured surface begin to roll out the pasta dough with a rolling pin.  Continue to roll the dough until it is very thin and measures 32 inches in diameter.  This is a LOT of work and will take quite a bit of time (about 20 minutes).

4. Butter the Timpano pan with 1/4 cup of room temp butter...this needs to be VERY generously coated.

5.  Fold the dough in half, then in half again to make a "wedge" 1/4 of the original circle.  Lift dough into bowl and gently unfold to line the bowl, gently pressing and stretching as you go.  Do not tear the gentle!

6.  Line the dough in the bowl with sliced prosciutto.

7.  Place 1/2 the bechamel pasta in the bowl.  Add 1/4 of the  provolone, fontina and parmesan.  Then cover with remaining bechamel Pasta.  Top with another 1/4 of the cheeses.

8.  Place meatballs and hardboiled eggs (eggs quartered lengthwise) atop the bechamel pasta.

9.  Place half of the tomato ragu pasta atop the meatballs and eggs, sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheeses.  Then place remaining tomato pasta in bowl, top with cheeses.

10.  Fold overhanging dough to cover pasta in bowl, trimming to avoid any double layers of pasta.  The bowl should be completely sealed.

Bake one hour at 350 F.  Cover top with foil and bake one additional hour at 350.  Remove Timpano from oven and allow to rest 30 minutes.

Invert Timpano carefully onto a platter, then allow to rest 30 minutes before removing bowl.

Finally the big moment.  carefully remove bowl, garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve with a great deal of fanfare!  when you cut the Timpano, cut a circle in the center of the dish, then cut wedges from the outer ring (this will give the Timpano more support while you are slicing).

P.S.  The Party was a major success despite the fact that on the day of the party (April 16, 2011) North Carolina was hit with a severe storm front that spawned around 60 different tornadoes and killed 42 people.  Our hearts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones, or whose homes were damaged by the storm.

This is the storm front as it passed over the Raleigh-Durham area...  
A tornado made a direct hit on downtown Raleigh about 15 minutes after this radar image was captured.

1 comment:

  1. Here's our version of it from a Big Night recreation in Toronto. What a dish!: