Made famous in the movie "Big Night", this Italian timpano is over-the-top good. Basically a meaty pasta bake wrapped and baked in a large pizza dough, it is labor intensive - and it's worth every minute. The presentation is beautiful and impressive, and the combination of textures and flavors is fantastic.
- for the meatballs:
- pork - 1 pound (500 g), ground
- beef - 1 pound (500 g), ground
- white bread - 2 slices, crusts removed - torn into tiny pieces
- bread crumbs - 1/4 cup
- parsley - 3 tbsp, fresh, chopped
- parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup, freshly grated
- salt - 2 tsp
- pepper - 1/2 tsp, ground
- nutmeg - 1/4 tsp, ground
- egg - 1 large, beaten
- water - 3/4 cups, warm
- flour - 1/2 cup
- butter - 2 tbsp
- olive oil - 1 tbsp
- for the filling:
- penne pasta - 2 pounds (1 kilo), cooked about 1/2 the recommended time
- itlaian pasta sauce - 8 cups, good quality or homemade
- italian sausage - 1/2 pound (250 g), cooked and crumbled
- mozzarella cheese - 2 cups, shredded
- meatballs - 15 - 20 golf ball sized from recipe above
- pecorino cheese - 1 cup, grated
- eggs - 5 large, beaten
- for the dough:
- all purpose flour - 4 cups
- eggs - 4 large
- salt - 1 tsp
- olive oil - 2 tbsp
- water - 1/2 cup
make the meatballs:
- In a large bowl, mix the ingredients (from the pork to the water) together gently with a fork until well combined.
- Wet your hands, then form the mixture into 1 1/2" meatballs - you should have around 15 - 20.
- Put the flour on a plate, then roll each ball gently to coat.
- Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet, then brown the meatballs, 8 - 10 at a time for about 6 to 8 minutes, until browned and cooked through. be careful to not overcrowd, allow room for them to roll around and brown on all sides
- Remove the cooked meatballs to a plate with paper towels to drain.
prepare the filling:
- Prepare all of your filling ingredients and have them ready, in separate bowls in your kitchen. Do this before you make the dough, so when the dough is ready you can immediately begin filling it.
make the dough:
- Put the flour, eggs, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Use a stand mixer if you have one, if not use a hand mixer with a dough hook attached. Add a little of the water and begin to mix, adding water a little bit at a time, until the dough comes together and forms a ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes - cover with a damp towel and let rest for about 5 - 10 minutes.
- Roll the dough out into a large, very thin sheet - like a large pizza dough. Get it as thin as you can, rolling from the inside out.
- Grease a large, deep oven safe bowl with butter, then gently lay your dough in it. Carefully press the dough into the bottom and the sides, and drape the excess over the sides. there should be enough excess to fold over and cover the filling
put it together:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C)
- Toss the drained pasta with 2 cups of the tomato sauce in a large bowl.
- Place about 3 cups of this sauced pasta into the bottom of the dough lined bowl.
- Spoon about 1/2 of the sausage on the pasta, sprinkle that with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 of the meatballs, then the pecorino cheese. Pour some of the beaten eggs over this to help hold it together, then pour over about 2 cups of the remaining tomato sauce.
- Add another layer of pasta, the rest of the sausage, the remaining mozzarella, meatballs and pecorino. Pour about 2 more cups of sauce over these, then add the final layer of pasta - you should be just about to the top of the bowl.
- Spoon the remaining sauce over the top, and pour on the remaining egg mixture. Shake the bowl a bit to help everything settle.
- Fold the dough over the top, and seal it well, trimming away any excess dough.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 45 minutes.
- Remove and let rest for about 15 minutes on the counter before turning it over onto a serving dish. Let it rest inverted in the dish for about 5 more minutes before carefully removing the dish.
- Slice into wedges and serve.