Timpano recipe – That’s amore from movie Big Night

Big Night movie inspires Italian cooking – Timpano

Big Night

Thanks to Netflix, we were able to kick back last night and watch a wonderful classic movie Big Night starring Tony Shalhoub as Primo and Stanley Tucci as Secondo.  The Italian drama, the colourful food, the fantastic characters and great acting made it such a fun-filled evening for us.

For those of you who are too young to know this movie, here’s the synopsis from IMDB:

“A failing Italian restaurant run by two brothers gambles on one special night to try to save the business.” – IMDB.com

The big meal that the brothers made on their big night was a delicious and gorgeous dish called Timpano. Here is a great video comparing how the professional chefs make it versus an Italian grandmother:


“Timpano. A huge, round “drum” of pasta, filled with even more pasta, meatballs, sausage, pork shank, and hard-boiled eggs. See: labor of love. This Italian dish, which is neither quick nor easy, has been featured in movies and on Sunday dinner tables alike, and now it’s coming to New York City’s Del Posto restaurant.

Like the best timpani, the one featured in Del Posto’s video above comes courtesy of nonna. Chef di cucina Matt Abdoo spent hours with his 90-year-old grandmother, Valerie Mancuso, to learn how to execute her timpano so that he can (try to) serve the same thing at the restaurant. We see Abdoo sieving tomatoes and rolling meatballs as visions of Mancuso, likely wagging her finger, dance in his head. It’s a testament to Italian food as a cuisine with deep roots and lots of soul, even at restaurants as polished and prestigious as Del Posto. Watch and prepare yourself to say “awwwwwwww.”” – Bon appetit


Inspired to make Timpano myself!

All this Italian food and culture inspired me to make my own version of Timpano for my family. It was a hit!

Recipe is at the end of this post…Once you get the idea of this, basically, add anything you want in the filling.  Bon appetit!



























 Timpano Recipe

  • Portion size 10


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 stick  cold butter cubed
  • 2 eggs


  • 1 lb hot salami slices
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic rough chop
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 4 cups cooked penne pasta
  • mushrooms
  • 1 cup of chopped washed spinach
  • 8 meatballs (pre-made/cooked)
  • 1 jar smooth tomato pasta sauce
  • 6 cups sliced mushrooms, (1 lb)
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cup (375 mL) provolone cheese (or whatever you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In separate bowl, whisk together milk, oil and eggs.  Mix this into the dry ingredients all at once. Using a pastry cutter or butter knife, cut the butter into the flour until the dough is cut into pea-size pieces. Mix with your fingers until liquid is absorbed.. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead for about 2 minutes or until velvety smooth and elastic. Transfer to bowl; cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes .


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for about 6 minutes or until el dente tender but still  firm (don’t over cook!); Drain well. Add pasta sauce; add spices (oregano, fennel, salt & pepper to taste) then toss to coat. Set aside.

In frying pan, add a drizzle of olive oil, add garlic and saute for a few minutes until golden. Add salami, mushrooms and spinach and saute for another 4 minutes or until spinach is cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Divide dough into two balls (one big and one small) and roll them out into large circles.  Grease the bottom of the circular deep baking dish and larger  dough into the bottom letting the edges hang outside the dish.

Spoon half of the pasta mixture into pan, pressing down lightly; and then layer the filling as desired.

Place the small dough over filling and overhanging pastry; fold edges over bottom overhang, pinching to seal. Brush top with some olive oil or butter.

Bake in bottom of 350°F (180°C) oven for about 1-1/2 hours or until pastry is golden brown and filling is piping hot. Let cool on rack for about 30 minutes. Remove ring and serve. (Can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving or reheat individual portions wrapped in foil in 350°F/180°C oven for 15 to 20 minutes.)

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