T I M P A N O !

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If you’re a Foodie and you haven’t seen the movie “Big Night” I would highly recommend you watch it. It’s the story of two brothers from Italy who come to America and open up a restaurant, unfortunately they aren’t making much money at it and they become almost bankrupt, so they decide to risk everything they own for one “Big Night” that will either make or break them.
The brother’s, one who is a superb cook, and the other who handles the business side, decide to make all these elaborate dishes  along with the promise of singer Louie Prima for the entertainment, all this in hopes to lure people into their restaurant. Anyway, when the “Big Night” finally comes the chef prepares his famous “Timpano”.Stanley Tucci is the star in the movie, but to me the star is the “Timpano!” ( sorry Stanley).

Timpano ( as it is said in Calabrian dialect) ____or Timballo___ has been a tradition in the Tucci family for years, in fact, it was his Grandmother who brought this tradition over from Calabria, Italy and to this day his family still makes it. But after the Huge reaction of the “Timpano” that they recieved from the movie, He, along with his family wrote a cookbook, it’s called, Cucina & Famiglia. In that book is the famous Timpano recipe.

Needless to say, the book was bought, and I was hooked!. My family was also hooked!, and was just as excited as I was for me to make this! That was several years ago, and although I don’t make it for every X-mas, this year I did. But believe me, it is great for any party, picnic, or special occasion you might have. It feeds over 16 people, and it definitely has the” WOW” factor!

The most important thing is the pan! It’s all about the pan! You can’t just use any pan, they specify that in the book, I actually ordered mine a long time ago but I updated the source for you. Here is the updated link. It’s a 14″ Basin with a 6 quart capacity, this is the size that fits the recipe in the book.
The enamel pan cooks and browns the Timpano perfectly!!

Here are some of the ingredients… provolone, salami, your best homemade mini meatballs, hard boiled eggs, ziti pasta ( 3 lbs. cooked very al dente), Romano cheese, and homemade sauce. All the components can be cut up, cooked and ready to go before assembly, just bring everything to room temperature.

The dough is easily made in the food processor, just follow their recipe in the book and it comes out perfect every time! This too, can be made in advance and ready to go ahead of time, but this also needs to be at room temp.

Roll it out very thin and drape the pan, everything is going to be wrapped inside it.

Start layering everything , first the sauce…. pasta… provolone… salami…..

Meatballs…Romano cheese… more sauce… you get the picture!

It takes time, but remember there’s 3 lbs. of pasta here, and well worth the process!! not to mention, it’s going to feed lots of people!
Almost to the top, but not quite!
Filled to the brim!

Cover everything up and trim the excess dough. Now it is ready for the oven!!
It bakes for 1 1/2 hours, it has to rest for 30 minutes in the pan, see how golden brown it gets??
Then you invert it over on a board and let it rest for at least another 1/2 an hour, you can even go a whole hour. Because of the long resting time, you could see how great this would be to bring to a party, you won’t have to worry about it getting cold at all. In fact, I think the longer it rests the better it tastes.

I hope you give this a try for your next big event!

Buon Appetito!!!

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  1. Making Timpano for Christmas Eve dinner. My husband bought me the Tucci Family cookbook and the enamel bowl recommended. Biggest problem is finding a counter deep enough to roll out 32 inches of dough! I did a culinary tour of Tuscany with a local University this spring and brought back lots of “slow food movement ” ingredients from Italy, so the whole meal will involve these. Really looking forward to sharing with friends and family. I love that you can do a lot of prep work with this dish.

  2. I just made this 2 days ahead of time and it is ready to bake. Will it work? I hope so. Please advise what you think. Thanks.

    • Christina, I’ve made it one day before, never 2, but I’m sure it will be fine. Let me know how that goes.

      • IT WAS FABULOUS ! ! My 14 guests surprised me by arriving dressed as the actors and actresses were in “Big Night” ( I made them all watch the movie in the weeks preceeding my dinner without telling them what I was cooking) What a hoot ! ! We played Louie Prima music all night and laughed and laughed. The Timpano looked exactly like yours and exactly like the one in Stanley Tucci”s cookbook which is the recipe I followed. Served with Fig & Pear Salad, Roasted asparagus, additional ragu with sausage to pass at the table, and a glorious Limoncello Tiramisu. Did not use all the pasta even though the 6 qt. bowl was filled to the rim. Thanks, Marie

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  4. Anonymous, you can either buy the book or write me at prouditaliancook@hotmail.com

  5. How can I get the full recipe for this dish?

  6. Hélène Timpano says

    OMG that is my last name!!! And I had never heard of that dish before. My family is from Calabria, it must have something to do with it! And you posted it on my birthday, that is so weird! I am definitely making one soon. Looks so yummy and so beautiful! Thank you so much for this discovery.

  7. Beautiful! I made one last year with good success. This year,I’d like to make in a taller, deeper bowl so I can have more layers. Do you think it would work? Something 6 or 7″ deep?


  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Thank you soooooo much for the address of the bowl. I have searched everywhere for this and ended up buying a metal popcorn bowl…lukily never used it. I have ordered this one and…because of you…will get the book. Thank you!

  10. This is beautiful. I have never heard of Timpano before, but it will be on the table soon.

  11. Thanks for your post. I love that movie and it’s cool to hear that others love it as much as i do! No other movie seems to skip so much past the romance and truly be a movie about the love/passion for food and the way it brings friends and family together. I have not yet made a timpano but plan on doing this for my next party! Thanks for the post.

  12. Anonymous says

    That looks absolutely fabulous and I can not wait to make that for our next party!

  13. Izzy, You will have no problem baking in it, the link I provided is suggested in the book, they call it enamel ware, it comes out perfectly browned!

  14. I have a large spatter enamel bowl which would be a perfect vessel. I was concerned about high heat baking in it. You did successfully evidently.
    Please reassure me. Izzy

  15. Anonymous, I would not recommend a dutch oven the shape needs to be dome like as the original recipe calls for, it truly is all about using the right pan.The enamel pan that I used works perfectly so I would only recommend that and yes I did use 3 lbs of pasta. This recipe feeds a crowd!

  16. Hi, I am going to attempt to make this for christmas eve, all I have is a dutch oven, do you think this would work? Also did you use 2 or 3 pounds of ziti? I know the recipe calls for 3 pounds but it seems a bit much to me.. thanks!

  17. This looks awesome! I have made a similar dish but used phyllo dough; I would love to try another version now!

  18. Your timpano looks fantastic – this would make a great holiday meal for a giant gathering. It’s like spaghetti pie on steroids. What an undertaking!!! Congrats.

  19. DonnaB, Thanks for sharing your Timpano party, sounds like you and your lucky guests had great fun, it certainly brings out many Oooohs and Aaahs!
    Thanks again,

  20. We threw a Timpano party last winter “Big Night at the Burkellini’s” (our last name is Burke) and we had about 30 over. Dress was posh 1958 and the Timpano was a huge hit. We now will have an annual Timpano night and we used a large clay pan to bake it in. It was delicious and the movie made for a great theme and a way to pass the winter humdrums. Just some imagination and fun friends and you have the ingredients for a fab night!

  21. Marie, hello! Just a follow-up on my adventure with timpano for Christmas in 2008: I used the stainless steel prep bowl and it turned out great. Not as pretty as yours, but it was FABULOUS. I was so happy with it and my guests were so amazed that I’m making it again. Ordering the right pan right now. Thanks again for the tips and inspiration. You’re awesome!

  22. Thanks Anonyomous, I believe I had the same place above. kk.com. I ‘ll put the link above. Thanks alot!

  23. People, you can order the ceramic bowl on this website: http://kolorfulkitchen.com/shop/en/
    I just was here an ordered a smaller 10” bowl vs. the 14” bowl as I don’t have an army to feed this too, but if it comes out well when I half the recipe, then I will up the ante and buy the big bowl.
    The 10 ” was around $20 with shipping… so it is not too expensive.
    If you haven’t seen the movie, the last scene is one of my favs in a movie..and nothing is said in the last 5 min. Damn I am hngry

  24. Hey Marie! I hope you had a wonderful holiday! I wanted to share that I made my very first Timpano for Christmas Eve and I am just so excited about it. I saw your eggplant one too and I will def have to try that in the future. Stop by to check it out if you have time. Ciao! Mangia!

  25. I adored this movie, but I would take Stanley Tucci home any day – simply adorable. But I digress. I’m making the glorious timpano for Christmas (with a green salad, good wine, a selection of Italian breads and a mascarpone cheesecake), and your pictures are great. I just need to find a pan. Do you think a big stainless steel bowl would work? You did great work and gave me the confidence to try it!

  26. I haven’t seen the movie and I’ve never eaten this dish. Now both are on my ‘to do’ list. Thank you for the inspiration.

  27. I finally made this and it turned out great! Come and look at the photos here on my blog. Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. WOW, that is something else! So impressive; it looks delicious!!!

  29. My husband and I absolutely loved that movie and, after we saw it, searched for an authentic recipe. We found a recipe, but it wasn’t as good as yours looks. We will definitely have to try it. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  30. Thanks Andy and welcome!! The same with yours!!

    Hi Anne, thanks for stopping by, hope to “see” you again!

  31. Wow, you have just reminded me of the time I visited my family in Malta..years and years ago, big favourite there. Looks delicious.

  32. WOW! That is amazing! I am so glad I found your blog. Looking forward to seeing more from you.

  33. Thanks Peter! Nice to meet you!

  34. Very impressive, I’d be proud too!

  35. Kevin, you’re welcome, no problem.

    Maryann, Hi!! Borders sells the movie, or Amazon on line does also.

    Lisa, isn’t it a good movie?? I love the relationship between the Bro’s. I hope you make it sometime, I’m going to check out your pasta ‘ncasciata now!!

    Suburban Prep, Thanks for visiting!! You defiantely have to make it with your Husband, it’s a lot of fun!

    Hi Sarah, This is just the thing for Giant Italian families!!!

    Thanks Jenny!

    Hi Megan, thanks for stopping by, where was your Grandma from??

  36. my grandmother used to make something similar and ive never attempted it…this looks FANTASTIC!!!

  37. That really looks incredible! All of my favorite ingredients in one yummy pie!

  38. OMG!! I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for ages (we have a giant Italian family here). Thanks!

  39. This is my husbands favorite movie (other than It’s a Wonderful Life).
    My husband is Italian and I bought the book a few years back for him. He was actually thinking of making this with his whole family when they gathered at one point this year.
    Good to know that someone has tried it and thank youf or the place where to find the pan.
    We will finally have to do this at some point.

  40. That looks out of this world! I adore Big Night; I’ve watched it so many times I can practically say all of the lines in the movie along with the characters. It was great to see the info on where to get the bowl for the timpano as well as all of the steps along the way and helpful hints. Thank you! I would love to try this sometime. It reminds me a tiny bit of the pasta ‘ncasciata I made for a Novel Food event; of course, this timpano is even more elaborate.

    Happy new year! Looking forward to more deliciousness in 2008.

  41. Hi Marie, I’m going to suggest it for our next family gathering. Looks like great fun to make, admire, eat. You’re something else. I hope I can find the movie. I loved it! Ciao Amica, Mary Ann

  42. Thank you very much for posting the bowl information!

    Thank you,


  43. Thanks Jo, Did you and J eat the pieces I left you?

    Kevin, You need to have a big party!

    Glamah, Happy New year to you, and your certain someone!

    Thanks Jenndz,for your comments and stopping by.

    Toni, Hi and welcome! Thanks for stopping by fellow Chi town foodie!

  44. Wow, that is an amazing undertaking and you made it look so easy!! What a fun thing for a party. It really makes it exciting for your guests.

  45. Whoa! That is something else! Looks amazing!

  46. So much for me eating lighter this year! I have to try that for the next big party. Happy New Year. And thanks for the link to order the bowl.

  47. Timpano looks great and sounds really tasty! It is huge. That would last me a few weeks.

  48. The pictures look almost as good as the day we ate it!

  49. Vali, They do sell a smaller pan, and you could adjust the recipe accordingly.

    Thanks Creampuff!!, I’m glad I inspired you, I don’t think you have any thing to be afraid of!!

    Kevin, I updated all that info on my post, thanks!!

    Maryann,I know! 3 lbs. can you believe it! By the time you add everything else, it weighs a ton! You have to get a good grip on it when you take it in and out of the oven.

  50. Wow Marie, what a great post! Nice illustrations on this big project. Three pounds of macaroni?! oh my!
    I bet your family loved it. I would, that’s for sure 🙂

  51. Holy Cow! That looks wonderful!!!

    Can you post the info about purchasing the bowl? I have done some searching but haven’t found anything.

    Thank you!

  52. Oh, wow! I have always wanted to try this but I’ve been afraid too. You’ve inspired me. It looks gorgeous!

  53. Mamma Mia….that sure looks good!!! I come from a small family so will need to invite neighbours and frineds as well to try this delicious dish.


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