Big Night Timpano #SundaySupper

Timpano | www.kimchimom.comBig Night. A story about two Italian immigrant brothers who open an Italian restaurant in 1950’s New Jersey. Primo, the gifted chef (Tony Shalhoub) is steadfast to the classic Italian dishes and Secondo is the front man (Stanley Tucci) who tries to keep the restaurant afloat. They are promised a visit from a famous jazz singer which they believe will save their failing restaurant and prepare for the “big night”.

The one star from the movie that I will never forget is the TIMPANO. Simply translated, timpano means “drum” in Italian. It is a baked dish filled with pasta, cheese, meatballs, eggs and all encased in a pasta crust. The bowl that is traditionally used is an enameled steel bowl with a flat base. I had never heard of such a dish before the movie, but I was truly enamored. I wanted a taste. I swore up and down that I was going to make this monster of a dish. Years came and went. I even took an intensive cooking course at some point. And even then, I never attempted to make it.

Until now.

Thanks to Heather at girlichef for hosting today’s Sunday Supper, Movie Inspired Recipes. It was a great trip down memory lane for me and it’s been fun seeing all the movies and recipes by the rest of the Sunday Supper crew!

Notes: I based my recipe on this one that was published in 1996 in the NY Times. I used my favorite meatball recipe and my favorite jarred sauce, RAO’s marinara.

Timpano |


Yields 6-8 servings

For the pasta:
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon olive oil

For the meatballs:
1/8 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1/4-1/2 cup of milk
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage (pork or turkey), casings removed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped flat parsley
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pound ground beef

For the sauce:
4 cups of your favorite marinara

For the timpano:
1 pound dried penne or other short-shaped pasta, cooked al dente, drained and reserved
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 hard-boiled eggs, cut in quarters
1 pound mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes (not the fresh mozzerella which is too watery for this dish)
1/2 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami

To make the pasta:

1 – Mix the flour and the salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the eggs and the oil to combine with the salted flour. Continue to stir until the dough comes together in a ball. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until smooth. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

To make the meatballs:

2 – Preheat the oven to 475°F.

3 – Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Take off the heat and set aside.

4 – In a large bowl, add enough milk to the bread to moisten the bread. Add the onion mixture and mash together.

5 – Add the remaining ingredients, get your hands in there, and combine thoroughly.

6 – Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form 1/2-inch round meatballs and distribute evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes. Repeat if there is remaining meatball mixture. Set the finished meatballs aside.

To make the timpano:

7 – Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the penne with 2 cups of the sauce in a large bowl. Roll out the pasta on a lightly floured surface to make a 24 to 26 inch round. Grease a 3-quart stainless steel bowl with a couple of tablespoons of oil. I used my enameled Dutch oven and it worked beautifully. Gently drape the pasta over the pot and carefully mold the pasta sheet to the contours of the bowl or pot. There should be enough of the sheet hanging over the edge to fold over and cover the filling.


8 – Spoon 1 cup of penne into the pot. Top with 1/2 cup of the sauce, 12 pieces of egg, half of the meatballs, and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat the process, this time using 3 cups of penne, 1 1/2 cups of sauce, the remaining egg pieces, meatballs, and mozzarella. Top with the remaining penne and sauce. Create a final layer with the salami. Fold the pasta over the filling and brush with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.


9 – Bake the timpano for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 45 minutes. To check to see if it’s done, make a small hole at the top using a sharp knife blade. If steam comes out and the cheese is melted, it is done. If not, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. To serve, remove from the oven and cool for 5-10 minutes. Carefully turn upside down onto a large platter.

Timpano |

Here’s what the rest of the Sunday Supper cast will be showcasing today. Sit back, turn off your devices, and enjoy the show!


Toast (bready things)

No Reservations (soups and salads)

Today’s Special (fish, chicken, beef, and pork)

Forks Over Knives (veggie-heavy dishes and sides)

Udon (pasta and noodles)

Just Desserts (sweet treats)

Bottle Shock (beverages)

Sunday Supper MovementI’d love to hear about some of your favorite Movie-Inspired recipes!  Feel free to leave links and/or recipes in the comments.  Also, please join us for our live twitter chat tonight at 7pm (Eastern) using the#SundaySupper hashtag, and check out the Sunday Supper board on Pinterest.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Coming to Orlando July 19-21, the first annual Food and Wine Conference sponsored by #SundaySupper. Visit the website to learn more and join in on the fun.

And I’ll leave you with a clip from Big Night starring the Timpano…


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