This recipe was so much fun to make! I'd seen it years ago, a classic Italian dish made famous by Stanley Tucci's movie "Big Night" , the story of two restauranteur brothers (Tucci and Tony Shalhoub, more recently starring as Adrian Monk) whose fortunates are on the wane. In a last mad dash, they have one "Big Night" extravaganza to save the restaurant and this is one of the dishes they served.
I served it our Dexter Dinner group to celebrate the season six premiere of Dexter. We gathered for Timpano, Death in the Afternoon cocktails, and Dexter (Apple) cake. Everything, including Dexter, was delicious! This recipe is definitely a showstopper and very flexible. I'll be serving it again.
Several years ago, I had planned on making it for my pasta-lovin' niece Jordan's birthday party as a truly celebratory entree but at the last minute I flinched, afraid I would leave the whole family in the lurch if I messed it up, and simply served baked mostacciola instead. While the dish does have several steps, almost all of them can be made ahead and the whole dish can easily be finished early on the day of serving and baked a bit before serving. Actually, with at least a half hour cooling time it's a great dish to take to a potluck or to serve at an open house. I only made a 2qt bowl full and not only was it plenty of food for the four of us watching Dexter that night, there were leftovers, and during the dinner, the dish was still warm to the touch 45 minutes after cutting.
As much as I sort of dreaded and anticipated and was scared and excited all at the same time about preparing this dish, it really is much easier to make than it looks! I promise.
The ingredients all ready to be layered:
One Cook's note: I list certain things in the recipe that are traditional but then give notes on a few things I changed, only because with the economy I'm trying to economize more at the grocery store so I substituted things I had on hand such as shredded Italian blend rather than going out specifically to purchase mozzarella. I'm sure the recipe with all the traditional ingredients is absolutely divine, but the reality is, even with my substitutions for saving money, it was still delicious!
The Glenna Anderson Muse version
- 3 Cups of The Meat Sauce: traditionally, Timpano includes pasta with red sauce and meatballs. (I made my slow cooker meat sauce for pasta and left the meats in chunks.)
- 16 oz pasta: penne is traditional, or any other small pasta cooked al dente and set aside or refrigerated until use. (I used vegetable rotini and angel hair just for the fun of two different textures.)
- 6 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
- 1 1/2 cup Bechamel sauce: Recipe at end of post
- 1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
- 4 oz ripe olives, sliced
- 8 oz mozzarella, cut into 1/2" cubes.( I used 4 oz of shredded Italian blend cheese because that's what I had on hand.)
- 8 oz hard salami, cut into thin slices (I happened to use Canadian Bacon because I had it on hand, even though I would have preferred the salami or pepperoni.)
- Cooking spray
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
For the pasta:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cream or half and half
1. In food processor or big mixer with dough hook, mix flour, salt, egg, and cream together and process or hand knead until dough is smooth and shiny. Check dough for wet/dry consistency, adding a bit of water or flour to achieve ball of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for at least one hour to allow protein bonds to form and elasticize the dough.)
2. Mix 1 1/2 cups of red meat sauce in with half of the pasta and mix the bechamel sauce (recipe follows) with the other half.
3. After pasta dough has rested, roll out in large circle, large enough to fill inside of 3 quart casserole bowl and overlap to cover top. Prepare baking bowl by spraying with cooking spray and dusting with bread crumbs.
In the picture you can see that I cut out a leaf from the dough and placed it in the bottom. I wanted to see if you could put a design into the dough. It didn't work this time but I had pressed alot into the bottom of the baking bowl. I'm going to try it again next time to see if I can make it work.
Next, layer in half of the salami (or I used Canadian bacon because it's what I had on hand.)
Layer in the first pasta with bechamel. Sprinkle with ground pepper and minced fresh parsley.
Layer the hard-boiled eggs.
Add the second pasta with the meat sauce and then layer the rest of the meat sauce on top. Top with the sliced (or whole) olives.
Add the other half of the salami (CB here) and then the cheese. Fold over the pasta sides, pulling in towards the middle (gently!) to cover entire dish. (Can use a little water to pat the pasta edges to help them stick together.)
Yay! It's all covered up nicely ready to bake!
Cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cook's Note: You can make it up to this point and store it in the fridge for a few hours before baking which makes it great for entertaining.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before attempting to unmold. Then gently invert onto a serving platter and leave the baking bowl on top, undisturbed for another 10 minutes before gently removing.
Garnish and allow the pasta dome to sit for another 20-30 minutes before attempting to slice. This dish will retain heat for a long time and is much prettier and still just as tasty if it's allowed to cool to warm rather than hot.
Recipe by Glenna Anderson Muse
Makes 1 1/2 cups
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup whole milk
dash of salt and white pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook until starting to brown. Stir in milk and whisk to smooth until bubbly and thickened. Whisk in cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Not exactly (sarcasm) a weight-loss recipe, but a true celebratory food:
Nutrition information for 1/10th of recipe using traditional ingredients: Calories: 636; Carbs 90; Protein 29; Fat: 17; Fiber: 4; Weight Watchers points: 16