Party and Picnic Timpano

timpano With the Fourth of July right around the corner and the many other celebrations that will be going on this summer, like graduations, family reunions, picnics, birthdays and loads of other get- togethers, I thought I would bring back the idea of making a timpano. What’s a timpano you might ask?

A timpano is a huge round drum or dome of delicious crust that is filled with pasta, meatballs, salami, cheeses and sauce, it is self contained, huge and feeds a crowd, It’s party food to the max and has a ton of WOW factor!

timpano Timpano was made famous by the movie Big Night, staring Stanley Tucci. The timpano, (which is the real star of the movie),was actually his moms recipe. I’ve been making it for special occasions and parties since the first time I saw the movie and bought his cookbook many years ago.

I love this scene in the movie, the first time we saw it, both my kids said “mom you got to make that! ” And I’ve been doing it ever since.

timpano pan The vessel you cook it in is VERY important so as to get the right shape, it looks like a big basin made out of old enamelware. I took a permanent magic marker and wrote my name on the back, this will be a family heirloom that will be past down to my kids with lots of happy memories attached.  This is the pan I use.

homemade marinara Since I’ve made it so many times I sort of simplified the sauce, Stanley’s family makes a meaty ragu, I just make my homemade marinara, it’s much lighter and not as heavy, besides there’s so much going on inside with all the other ingredients. The mini meatballs I just make ahead of time and bake them.

timpano ingredients As far as all the ingredients go everything can be prepped ahead of time which is a great time saver for a big party going on. Like I said I make my marinara, cook up my mini meatballs, pre -cook the pasta (very al’dente), cook my eggs and chop up my cheese and salami. Everything gets put into a ziplock and ready for assembly.

timpano ingredients Even the dough I make the night before so it’s all prepped and ready, just make sure it’s at room temperature before you start rolling it out.

You see it’s really not that daunting of a recipe to make, don’t let it scare you, it’s fairly simple, a little time consuming with the prep, but then that’s it! The day you put it together will be a breeze and no clean up.

rolling timpano dough For all the years I have been making timpano I can honestly say I have NEVER had any problems with the dough, it always comes out perfect!

rolled out timpano dough Just take your time rolling it so that it drapes way over the pan, you’re going to be filling it with some heavy stuff and you’ll need to be able to close it up with out any of the ingredients showing.

 Fill it to the brim!

timpano Sauce it one last time then wrap it up like a present and bake it.

baked timpano The smells are unbelievable!

cooked timpano But I have to stress a very important step, LET IT REST, a good 45 minutes to an hour, think turkey rest, otherwise you will cut into it and it will be a big saucy mess, you won’t be able to slice it into nice wedges. You know how lasagna is when you try and cut it piping hot? It’s a hot mess, you don’t want that.

I have taken this whole, baked piping hot timpano, wrapped it up in heavy towels and brought it to picnics and family reunions where it would be sitting for 2 hours and it was still hot when I cut into it, just remember if you transport it you need something to cut it on and a good serrated knife. Did I mention it feed a ton?

cut open timpano This is fun party food, people will be talking about it and craving it for your next gathering. It’s just some basic Italian essentials all wrapped up in a crusty drum where all the flavors meld together in perfect harmony with amazing results!

timpano wedge Try to stash a piece for your self the next day, leftovers are awesome.

slice of timpano

Stanley Tucci’s original timpano recipe is here but remember I replace his rich ragu with my lighter homemade marinara.

Otherwise follow his directions to the tee I should show you my own personal copy of this recipe, it’s filled with yellow highlighted marks all over.

Study the recipe well, once a good friend of mine made this for a very special occasion, she forgot one important step, covering it with foil, the top burned, she cried…

Go ahead now, make a timpano for your next party or picnic, no need to be intimidated.

Come see what I’m cooking up during the week on Instagram, you can follow me here.

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Summer Corn with Basil Butter

basil buttered corn I’m giving you a recipe today that will rock your world, two words … basil butter. You can slather it on just about anything, grilled veggies, fish, chicken, steak, burgers, eggs, pasta, polenta and mashed potatoes just to name a few, and it’s quick and easy to make!

basil butter In addition to the fresh basil there’s some garlic and lemon zest added into the butter, believe me you’ll want to make extra so you can stash it away in your freezer, it’s that good.

basil plant I love this time of year because I can walk out my back door and grab as much basil as I want, have I ever told you that basil is my favorite herb of all?

basil butter Besides making fresh basil pesto this is another great way to capture the flavors of summer. This is an old Fine Living recipe that never fails. You can shape it into a log by using plastic wrap tightening the ends as if it were a sausage, then refrigerate until firm so you can cut off coins making it easy to spread.

basil buttered corn

I love it smeared all over fresh corn on the cob, the combination basil, lemon zest and garlic is a match made in heaven!

If you like to see more of what I’m cooking up during the week you can follow me on Instagram here.

Basil Butter
 
Adapted from Fine Living
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup finely chopped sweet basil
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a bowl combine the butter, basil, garlic, lemon zest,salt and pepper.
  2. Mash with a spoon until very well combined, I like to keep turning it with a rubber spatula.
  3. Use immediately or wrap into a log and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Cut into coins to use on veggies, fish, chicken, burgers, steaks, pasta, polenta, potatoes, eggs or anything else you can think of.
  5. The butter keeps well in the fridge for 2 weeks or up to a month in the freezer.

 

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Pear Salad with Arugula, Prosciutto and Gorgonzola

pear salad To me summer is all about the salads, and do I have a good one to share with you today! It’s a combination of salty prosciutto, peppery arugula, creamy gorgonzola and sliced sweet pears, need I say more?

Abate pears The other day I discovered a new variety of pears called Abate ,( pronounced ah-BAH-tay) they have a unique shape, more oblong, taller and slimmer than the typical pears we’re use to. They originated in Italy and are said to be among the best in the world. I need to go back and get more before they disappear because I absolutely loved them.

They were perfect for this salad, not only were they sweet and juicy but they kept a nice firm shape when sliced. Of course any variety of pear will do for this salad, just make sure it’s not too overly ripe.

If you happen to come across some Abate pears, please give them a try!

pear salad I love salads that I can make or bring to a party, ones that I can arrange on a large platter with a pretty presentation, and this is one of them.

pear salad It looks pretty and it tastes even better, the flavor combination is out of this world good!

There’s no real recipe, just spread some arugula all over a platter, slice up some pears that have been cut in half lengthwise, cored and sliced. Arrange the pears all around, tuck in slices of prosciutto then crumble gorgonzola all over the top along with some toasted walnuts, that’s it!

Dress it right before serving, I used white balsamic and olive oil, a fifty fifty mix, just whisk it up add some salt and pepper and drizzle over the top, so delicious!

pear saladpear and prosciutto rolls

I call the above picture an Italian summer roll, something I saw Rachael Ray do but she didn’t add the gorgonzola. So using all the same flavors that were in the salad I made a roll out of it, here’s how:

Lay out a slice of proscuitto, add a small handful of arugula, one pear slice and a small chunk of gorgonzola then just roll it up, everything will stay together perfectly and it’s so easy to pick up and eat!

Either one of these would be great for Father’s Day this weekend, graduations or any of your upcoming summertime parties.

Want to see what else I’m cooking up during the week? You can follow me here on Instagram.

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