This feeds a family of four four times

Many foodies knows this dish as the set piece in a movie from a few years back. Here it is broken down into steps. Although the filling can be changed to anything, for this timpano you will need two sausages, one batch meatballs, two pounds cooked pasta, 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms, one pound sliced provolone, 1/2 cup grated Romano and marinara sauce. You’ll also need five eggs and about a quarter cup of cream.

Roll it out as thin as possible

Timpano Dough

  • 4 cups semolina flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Mix the flour and salt together and form into a pile on a large counter. Create a well in the center, crack eggs, add oil and beat until smooth. Mix into flour to form a rough dough then add water a little at a time until dough is smooth and elastic kneading gently as you go. Let the dough rest covered for a half hour. When ready, roll the dough as thin as possible into a large circle.

Press it in

To make this dish you will need a large bowl that can be put in the oven. I use a four-quart Pyrex bowl because it is inexpensive and the sides slope perfectly. Place the dough into the container and drape the excess over the outside. Make sure to heavily grease the inside of the bowl before adding the dough.

First layer

Cook two pounds of small pasta, I like mini penne, to al dente. Spoon a layer into the bottom of the dish and pack it down with your hand. The pasta acts as a form that holds the dough and timpano together so press it in tightly. Cover the pasta with a layer of marinara. For this dish I like to cook the sausage and meatballs in the marinara to give it more of a meat flavor.

First layer of meat

Cook two Italian sausages in the marinara and when done slice into thin rounds. Layer the rounds evenly over the pasta layer and cover with sliced provolone cheese. From this point forward you will repeat the previous process adding pasta to pack it down, marinara sauce and then a meat/vegetable layer topped with cheese.

Press the pasta down tight each time.

Not all layers are meat

Although every layer could be meat, that gets dull so I sauteed six sliced mushrooms in butter for the next layer but the sky is the limit as to what could be put in a timpano.

Don't forget Romano cheese on top of the provolone

The meatballs are the last layer

Cook the meatballs in the marinara and size them slightly smaller that normal but bigger than for lasagna. Always place the meatballs last because they work better at the base of the timpano when you flip it from the dish. Cover the meat in marinara.

Last pasta layer

Make sure to really press the last layer of pasta into the bowl so that it is below the lip of the dish.

So healthy

Beat five eggs with a little cream and pour over the timpano evenly. Let the egg sit for 10 minutes to soak into the layers.

Fold the dough over

Stretch and fold the dough over the bottom sealing the 2 halves together with some egg still on top. Cut any excess dough away to there is no more than two layers over the base.

All cooked

Place bowl in a preheated oven at 350 degrees and bake for an hour. Cover top with foil and bake another 30 minutes. Remove bowl from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Place a large plate on top and quickly flip timpano out of bowl.

All done

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Dinner, Food, How to, Italian, Recipes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

139 Responses to Timpano

  1. Carolyn Chan says:

    Looks insane ! (In a good way)

  2. Lauren says:

    Oh my gosh, that thing is insane!!! And not to mention, a carb-lover’s dream!!!

  3. I have never seen such a thing before. Talk about hearty winter dishes!

  4. ChgoJohn says:

    To be filed under “Go big or stay home!” This is just incredible, Greg; something I’ve never seen nor heard of before. (And further proof that I need to rent The Big Night.)

  5. Whoa! Never heard of this dish before, impressive 🙂 almost like a turducken of pasta.

  6. I’ve never seen this before! How cool.

    BTW, I added you to my blogroll. I’m spending way too much time on your site!

  7. nrhatch says:

    That’s a mile high lasagne pie! 😀

  8. Timpano is part of our family’s Christmas tradition. Every year everyone helps out to make this beautiful dome. Yours is Magnificent!!!!

  9. JamieAnne says:

    Oh. No. you. Didn’t.


  10. I’ve never seen this before, it looks wonderful!

  11. Kristy says:

    Holy crap! I’ve never seen anything like this and it’s downright incredible! You’ve stunned me into silence…(and hunger). 🙂

  12. Kristen says:

    Big Night Out is such a great movie. It’s one of my boyfriend’s favorites. He studied the movie carefully to try to figure out what all went into the timpano. When he found the cookbook Stanley Tucci wrote with his mother (which has the timpano on the front cover) he immediately purchased it and threw a party so that he could make one. It’s has become a Christmas tradition as well. The book also has another vegetarian version that uses slices of eggplant as the “crust” instead of dough which looks beautiful. We’re still trying to find just the “right” pot to make it in.

  13. eva626 says:

    omg that is total MADDNESS… i like it!

  14. I have never made a successful timpano but always wanted to after seeing big night. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. wow this is awesome! i’m sure the left-overs are amazing too

  16. rutheh says:

    What an elegant post and series of excellent photographs. I love when the brother cooks the eggs in the movie! You were inspired, for sure! And now inspire others.

  17. This a beast! Whoa. I don’t know if I want to make it right now or run away from it. 😉

  18. Never seen anything like this before! The dough you made for the casing looks fabulous.
    🙂 Mandy

  19. I’m afraid this things bigger than both of us.

  20. Kiki says:

    I can feel my waistline expanding just looking at the pictures!! But it definitely looks delicious!

  21. Tandy says:

    what a fantastic post, and by the way, belated one year bloggaversary 🙂

  22. Greg, I salute you. This is an incredible Timpano and I am so very impressed! Now I need to know what it was made in honour of…or did you and Katherine just sit at home and scoff it with the dogs over the period of a week?!

  23. Oh you guys rock! Now did I ask you to make this or did I just send lots of ‘please do a Timpano’ post vibes… I can’t remember.
    This has been on my list of things to make for a ridiculously long time. If I had that before me, I’d be almost inclined to stick a candle in the middle. Not because it looks a birthday cake, but because it’s an awesome effort!

  24. First of all, I am OH MY GODing like everyone else is.
    Second, this dish is MADE for my sis. She’s an all-for-pasta eater, and almost nothing else!
    Third, thank you for posting which pyrex bowl I need to buy, I wouldn’t have had a clue otherwise.
    Fourth, I AM SO MAKING THIS! possibly with some slight modifications to suit the family’s comfort zone, and finally
    Fifth, what on earth did you do with the left overs?!

  25. That.
    I love it!!!!!!
    (And, thanks for giving me a great idea – Hubby needs a copy of ‘Big Night’ in his stocking!)

  26. Charles says:

    Whoa…! 😀 That’s… mad – I’ve never heard of Timpano… looks like a real bundle of fun (hurr) – is the filling traditional or can it be in theory anything that can be baked into a big bowl? Love the slices… looks like a carby, savoury English Christmas Pudding 😀

  27. My goodness what a creation. I’ve never seen or heard of timpano. It must have taken you half a day to make it. And I bet every bite was worth every bit of effort. Looks delicious.

  28. egg me on says:

    WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW. Okay, one more: WOW. I’ve seen a timpano before, but never actually attempted one. But your step-by-step instructions make it look relatively easy. AND awesome! How many nights’ dinners you get out of that thing??

    • Oh good lord it was insane. We did this instead of turkey on Thanksgiving and the leftovers lasted as long. As Katherine put it on the fourth or so night (she eventually just left it to me) we can never make this again unless we’re having 10 people over.

  29. Sissi says:

    I’m in awe of this luscious, decadent feast! It looks too beautiful to be true. I can imagine someone who sees it for the first time in his life. He or she would be speechless.
    I have never seen the film, but in the fragment you linked to it seemed like a joke, and not a real dish. Thank you for sharing this unusual dish! I don’t think any of your visitors will forget it (I certainly won’t).

  30. aFrankAngle says:

    Whoa … Oh … you want a question for your answer: What is created when combining pot pie, calzone, and steroids?

  31. aFrankAngle says:

    Answer for to this question: What do you get when combining pot pie, calzone, and steroids?

  32. Michelle says:

    Impressive! (Loved the movie, too.)

  33. Rachel says:

    Holy cow! I never heard of this… but what a great idea! Guess I need to pay more attention to movies! Mmmm… love the step-by-step – thanks for sharing!!

  34. Amy says:

    Holy crap, that thing is massive! I’ve never seen something like it before!!! Sounds quite delicious as well.

  35. spicegirlfla says:

    I’m feeling stuffed already!! Your dough looks absolutely perfectly made!! I’ve made this many years back, truly a show stopper, especially for those not familiar with this. You’ve done an excellent job on this…but I’m so not surprised!

  36. Alli says:

    Oh my god, I can’t decide if that’s beautiful or terrifying…or a combination of both!

  37. I’ve made Timpano twice since seeing Big Night years ago. Both times we were making it up as we went along based on what we saw on screen (it was fabulous both times, though not as picture perfect as yours). Now I am hungry for this, it is only 9 a.m. and I’ve got Rosemary Clooney on the brain. You know the song…. Might have to make this over the weekend.

  38. I’d never heard of this dish or that movie, so it was really fun to watch the actual cooking part. Great and impressive dish!

  39. Now I want a copy of the Big Night for Christmas…been so long since I saw it! To say your Timpano is impressive is an understatement. I’ve always been intimidated by the thought of making it, but thanks to your great instructions, I’m now just intimidated by how many guests I’d need to invite to eat it! 🙂

  40. Nope, never seen anything like this before. Looks like a slice of heaven 🙂

  41. You made something that seems hard to do so easy, with style and artistry. I’m amazed by the whole process and its end product. I bet you are busy this Christmas season. This is the season of feasting of delicious “Rufus” specialties! Stay cool my friend. Happy Holidays.

  42. What a labor of love that dish is! It looks amazing though! I have never heard of or seen one but this is beautiful.

    • You should watch that movie! Once in Little Italy in St. Louis, Katherine almost told the customers next to us how long homemade risotto made and it made me think of that movie. The guy was complaining and it was one of those places where you’re right next to the next table. She said if she had had another glass of wine she would’ve given him a tutorial!

  43. Sophie33 says:

    Waw, You certainly nailed this!
    Looks very impressive & thanks for the step by step guide too! 😉

    I really want to try this tasty & fabulously looking Italian dish! MMMMMMM,…!!!

  44. Storm Rider says:

    Wish I could be there to eat it!!… It looks toooo yummy!!! 😛 : )

  45. niasunset says:

    Oh, My God! This is SO BEAUTIFUL but I am on diet… and dear Rufus, you are not a fat one even with all these beautiful recipes… What is the secret in this. I loved it so much, seems so delicious too. This is creative work in the kitchen. Thank you, with my love, nia

  46. WOW.. that is just massive. I have no idea what to say about this dish.. I do however want to know if it was delicious? It certainly looks like it

  47. Christine says:

    Wow! Never seen anything like this before, but it sure does look good.

  48. SimpleP says:

    Yowza! I don’t think that’s Atkins approved. In fact, if I ever decide to run a half marathon, this will be my carb loading dinner. So much work but truly evil and fantastic.

  49. jolynccc says:

    so that’s what timpano is…hhhhmmm, it looks very interesting and very tasty! i could totally do that! 😉 not sure i would want o, but i could! 😉

  50. k.m. says:

    That is definitely a showstopper! I am equally impressed by how neatly you sliced it too. Any tips? Serrated knife maybe?

  51. Mama Lisa says:

    WOW! Jeff and I are not even going to pretend that we will try this one at home. Don’t be mistaken; Jeff is inspired. But you guys are definitely the pros!

  52. Stef says:

    That looks like a whole mess of craziness – crazy goodness! 🙂

  53. Joanne says:

    GOOD LORD you guys. You just knocked my socks off. This is the craziest coolest thing I have ever seen. How would you describe the dough? Kind of calzone like, maybe? SO excited to make this!!!! I bet sealing it up like that has sort of an “en papillote” effect too and the flavors all meld together.

  54. WOW! can I say that again WOW!
    I have never even heard of this before, this would be Jana’s dream come true..she loves pasta and meat balls so much!

  55. rsmacaalay says:

    Wow I am so amazed with this post, totally new to me and the presentation is awesome. Can someone close my jaw.

  56. Karina says:

    It is like a mini Epic Meal Time :)….But with quality ingredients, and looks delicious!

  57. Oh my word! This looks fabulous. I want to try it. It’s like a muffaletta but Pasta! Delicious.

  58. pcadams says:

    You’re a brave soul. I always wanted to make a Big Night Timpano!

  59. eatlovedrink says:

    Wow! I’ve never seen anything like this before…how fun! I LOVE the idea of baking in a bowl. Looking forward to giving this a try! (And also thrilled to come across a recipe that calls for semolina…I’ve had a bag sitting around my kitchen for way too long.)

  60. HOLY COW!!!! I’ve never seen anything like that. Truly the ultimate in comfort food, looks delicious and amazing! Wow.

  61. That looks AMAZING! I’m going to make that! 🙂

  62. Kelly says:

    “this feeds a family of four four times” – you’re *hilarious* Greg!!

    Your Timpano looks like the definition of comfort.

  63. oh WOW. This is serious business! I love it. Something to help you through the winter 🙂

  64. needtotaste says:

    This looks ridiculous! I want to eat of this ridiculous dome!

  65. Dios Mios that is fantastic, definitely makes a statement when brought to the dinner table and full of so many wonderful goodies…this is a real stunner…yum.

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  67. This is straight up gluttonous goodness. Exactly what I enjoy. Well done!

  68. Fox@n says:

    Looks really good.
    But probably impossible for someone in my household to make 🙂

  69. nancyc says:

    I need to try this!!!

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  71. Kim says:

    Very interesting recipe. I’ve never seen Timpano before :O

  72. A_Boleyn says:

    I don’t know how I missed the notification for this post dropping in my mailbox. I’ve even seen the movie and this is one STUPENDOUS dish. The illustrations to assemble it are very clear. I’d never have the nerve to make it but I’m impressed that you did. 🙂

  73. Oh my! I am starving right now and could really make a dent in that. I so want to try this one, too. I know it has to be so good.

  74. spiceandmore says:

    That is one mighty impressive creation!

  75. PhobicFoodie says:

    Oh my goodness that is amazing!

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  78. what the heck! I have never seen something like this before….it looks unreal!

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