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Timpano A la Big Night

So there is a great movie with Stanley Tucci called "Big Night". Two brothers, Primo and Secondo, emigrate from Italy and open an Italian restaurant in New Jersey. The movie takes place in the 50's. They have been in business for awhile and the brothers are run down from losing business to a new Italian Restaurant that opens across the street from them. The excitement is gone. They are ready to close their doors. So they decide to have a Big Night and invite all their best customers and friends and take their last shot on keeping the restaurant open. The brothers make a Timpano.

A Timpano is an Italian dish of pasta, tomato sauce, roasted vegetables (and sometimes meat), hard-boiled eggs, and cheese shaped into a dome, covered with dough and baked. It is a dramatic centerpiece dish for any meal. I have been dying to make this dish but to be honest, it is just so much work. Plus, the thought of hard boiled eggs in a pasta dish just turned me off. So I decided to mix it up a bit. Get rid of the eggs, add eggplant rollatini, ziti, meatballs, sausages, pepperoni, provolone, mozzarella and lots of ricotta.

I usually write out a full ingredient list but honestly, its just too much. If you saw every ingredient you would go blind reading it. Instead, I'll tell you what you need to do and you do it your way. And I made the sauce a day ahead. Last week I made the meatballs and sausages, sliced them and threw them in a freezer bag and froze them. As far as the dough, it's supposed to be a pasta dough using 4 cups of flour (!!) which would be so much work and then a friend of mine said "why not just use pizza dough?" Brilliant. Hope it works. Like a huge calzone. I just finished grating and dicing the cheeses. I went to my local market this morning and picked up fresh pizza dough. I'm making the sauce today and getting the cheeses grated.

Dinner is tomorrow night with my son and I plan on putting it all together about 3:00 and into the oven at 4:00. Once it is finished, you have got to let it sit for 30 minutes before you attempt to flip it over and serve. I'm going to be using a large 5 1/2 Quart cast iron enamel pan covered.


3 Quarts of sauce

12 Meatballs, baked and sliced

4 Italian Sausages, baked and sliced

One Eggplant, sliced, dipped in egg with milk, fried and drained

1 1/2 pounds of ricotta, mixed with one egg and a tsp. of parsley

2 Pounds of Mozzarella, diced (I didn't use all the cheese--I froze the rest)

1 Package of sliced Pepperoni

4 oz. Provolone, grated

One Pound Ziti, boiled, sauced and ricotta added

One or Two Pounds of Pizza Dough


Get all of your ingredients lined up and ready to go.

I took my fried eggplant slices and filled them with ricotta and cheese and rolled them up and put them to the side. I cooked the ziti and added sauce and ricotta to it and put it on the side.

Take out your pizza dough and keep rolling it out so that the size will fill your cooking vessel with enough to totally cover the Timpano, top and bottom.

Brush the pot with a mixture of butter and olive oil before laying the dough down.

Next, layer some ziti on the bottom. Add in some meatball and sausage slices. Add in the Pepperoni and some grated Provolone. Add a ladle of sauce and spoon it to cover. Add in some Mozzarella.

Next, layer up the Eggplant Rollatini's. Place them tight next to each other going around the sides and then in the middle.

Add some sauce, meatballs, Ziti, sausages, Mozzarella, Pepperoni and grated Provolone.

Next layer up another ziti layer and try to use up as much as you can of the other ingredients without overdoing it. OMG. Exhausted and nervous!!

Start lifting up the dough to cover the top of the pot.

Once it is all covered, tuck in all the dough and then brush with Olive Oil.

Cover the pot and bake on 385 degrees for about 45 minutes. Drop the temperature to 340 for another half an hour.

Done!! Mama Mia OMG it is beautiful!! Now you have to wait for half an hour out of the oven before attempting to flip the pot over. I'm waiting for my son to come so he can do it for me. It weighs about 30 pounds, I swear!!

Knock on wood!! Now for the big reveal!

This morning I made up three meals for the freezer. You can see the layers nice here.




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