November 4, 2013

Author Notes: Just like they made it in The Big NightCamille Becerra

Makes: one timpano
Prep time: 1 hrs 30 min
Cook time: 5 hrs


For the sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 anchovies (optional)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 16-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 3 large very ripe tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 pinch salt

To assemble and bake the timpano

  • 1 batch pasta sauce
  • 1 pound ricotta
  • 1/4 head escarole, grilled (optional)
  • 1 raw egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch chili flakes
  • 4 cups dried ziti, penne, or rigatoni, cooked
  • 1 pound meat such as sausage, pancetta, or meatballs
  • 4 medium boiled eggs, depending on the size of your mold
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella
  • 1 pound cooked lasagna sheets (or enough to cover your mold and top)
In This Recipe


For the sauce

  1. Chop onion and sauté with anchovies in oil till translucent. After 10 minutes add the white wine, and cook until it reduces by half. Transfer to a blender along with the garlic and purée till smooth, then return to pot.
  2. Purée the canned tomatoes in a blender and pass them through a sieve, then add to the pot.
  3. Cut whole tomatoes into wedges, purée in a blender, and pass through sieve. Add them to the pot.
  4. Simmer for 3 to 4 hours.
  5. ** For larger timpanos, make a double batch of this sauce.

To assemble and bake the timpano

  1. Chop grilled escarole. Mix it together with your ricotta, a raw egg, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of chili flakes. Pipe this mixture into your cooked pasta tubes using a pastry bag.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Butter or grease an oven-proof mold really well. I used a smaller mold (6 inches in diameter and 4 inches tall).
  3. Line the mold with the cooked pasta sheets, making sure you have enough hanging over to cover the top once you're finished adding layers.
  4. Line the bottom with the ricotta-stuffed pasta.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, then tap the mold down onto the counter to make sure the sauce settles. The less pockets of air in the timpano, the better its structure will be.
  6. Top with meat. Tap down again. Top with a thin layer of mozzarella.
  7. Add another layer of the ricotta stuffed pasta and tap again. Top with the egg, then another layer of sauce. Tap down again.
  8. Top with mozzarella. Top with another layer of ricotta-stuffed pasta. Top with sauce, and tap one last time.
  9. Cover top with remaining pasta sheets and egg wash to seal.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour -- a larger mold will need more time in the oven.
  11. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, run a small off set spatula or thin knife around the side to make sure it’s not stuck to the mold.
  12. Cover with a plate and flip over to unmold. Do so as gently as possible. Allow another 10 minutes before cutting into it.

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