Thursday, January 27, 2011

Making Timpano

Making timpano is an involved process, especially if you're making everything by hand! In this case, the fresh ziti, Italian meatballs, the ragú sauce, and the dough all had to be prepared as much as two weeks ahead of time!

I started by making the meatballs and the ragú sauce two weekends before our timpano dinner. I froze everything and defrosted it the day before I began to assemble and bake the timpano.

I hard boiled the eggs and chopped the salami and Provolone cheese, and shredded the Pecorino Romano cheese a few days before assembly.

I made the dough for the crust the night before assembly.

Mel offered to make fresh ziti pasta for the timpano, so she worked the night before and the morning of to make 18 cups of cooked pasta!

We borrowed an enamel basin from RFC and lined it with parchment paper before we rolled out the dough and put it into the basin. I thought the parchment would help with the release of the timpano from the pan. RFC says that her mom used to bathe her in this basin when she was a baby - too cool!

After rolling out the dough and fitting it carefully into the parchment-lined basin, we cooked the ziti until it was almost al dente, then tossed it with the ragú sauce.

Layer by layer, we built the timpano. First the pasta and sauce, then the Genoa salami, Provolone cheese, meatballs, hardboiled eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, more sauce, then repeat. Finished with a layer of pasta and sauce, then poured 4 beaten eggs over the top.

Closing off the timpano was challenging - we pulled pieces from once place to plug up holes in another, but knowing that this would be the bottom of the dish once we turned it out of the basin made us bolder than we normally would be in patching the holes.

Baking and cooling took about two hours. The timpano came out beautifully browned and thoroughly cooked through (yay!). Out it came onto a couple of silicon chopping boards - we didn't have a plate nearly large enough to accommodate it in one piece.

The recipe suggested cutting a circle in the middle of the timpano and then slicing the rest like a cake - the circle functions as a stabilizer for the rest of the dish as pieces are cut out of it.

Timpano is served! It was even better tasting the next day!

Read about our entire Big Night inspired dinner here.

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