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Timpano Alla Big Night

graphic From "Cucina & Famiglia" (William Morrow)
By Joan Tropiano Tucci and Gianni Scappin

16 servings

For the dough:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

To prepare the pan:

  • Butter
  • Olive oil

For the filling:

  • 2 cups 1/4 x 1/2-inch Genoa salami pieces
  • 2 cups 1/4 x 1/2-inch sharp provolone cheese cubes
  • 12 hard boiled eggs, shelled, quartered lengthwise, and each quarter cut in half to create chunks
  • 2 cups meatballs
  • 8 cups meat-based tomato sauce
  • 3 pounds ziti pasta, cooked very al dente (about half the regular cooking time)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2/3 cup finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 4 large eggs, beaten

To make the dough, place the flour, eggs, salt and olive oil in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add 3 tablespoons of water and process. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together and forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead to make sure it is well mixed. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

Flatten the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour and roll it out, dusting with flour and flipping the dough over from time to time, until it is about 1/16 inch thick and is the desired diameter.

Generously grease the timpano baking pan (a 6-quart container) with butter and olive oil. Fold the dough in half and then in half again, to form a triangle, and place it in the pan. Open the dough and arrange it in the pan, gently pressing it against the bottom and the sides, draping the extra dough over the sides. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To prepare the filling, have the salami, provolone, hard-boiled eggs, meatballs, and ragu at room temperature. Toss the drained pasta with the olive oil and 2 cups of the ragu. Distribute 6 generous cups of the pasta on the bottom of the timpano. Top with 1 cup of the salami, 1 cup of the provolone, 6 of the hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup of the meatballs, and 1/3 cup of the Romano cheese. Pour 2 cups of the ragu over these ingredients. Top with 6 cups of the remaining pasta. Top that with the remaining 1 cup salami, 1 cup provolone, 6 hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup meatballs, and 1/3 cup Romano cheese. Pour 2 cups of the ragu over these ingredients. Top with the remaining 6 cups pasta. (the ingredients should now be about 1 inch below the rim of the pot.) Spoon the remaining 2 cups of ragu over the pasta. Pour the beaten eggs over the filling. "Fold the pasta dough over the filling to seal completely. Trim away and discard any double layers of dough.

Bake until lightly browned, about 1 hour. Then cover with aluminum foil and continue baking until the timpano is cooked through and the dough is golden brown (the internal temperature will be 120 degrees F), about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes or more. The baked timpano should not adhere to the pan. If any part is still attached, carefully detach with a knife. Grasp the pan firmly and invert the timpano onto a serving platter. Remove the pan and allow the timpano to cool for 20 minutes. Using a long, sharp knife cut a circle about 3 inches in diameter in the center of the timpano, making sure to cut all the way through to the bottom. Then slice the timpano as you would a pie into individual portions, leaving the center circle as a support for the remaining pieces.

Buon Appetito! Country Italian cookbooks arrive in droves
December 20, 1999

William Morrow
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