Stanley Tucci begins the forward of his family’s cookbook with the story, “almost every night in the middle of dinner, my father would shake his head and ask, “What does the rest of the world eat?”
With that culinary lineage, it’s no wonder Tucci co-wrote, directed and produced the 1996 film, “Big Night.” The centerpiece of the film was the fabulous food, with the star being the Timpano, or “drum” of Italian meats, cheeses, and pasta.
Having to stay home for a COVID-style New Year’s Eve, Bob and I decided to entertain ourselves and make our own Timpano (never fear, we had black-eyed peas earlier in the day). The finished Timpano weighed more than either of my newborns at just over 8 pounds!
Absolutely delicious, it was one of our more memorable meals. We watched the movie while we cooked. From start to finish, it took just over 4 hours to complete. But Mama Mia! It was fabulous and well worth the effort.
From there, you make the dough, roll it out and line an oven-safe drum-shaped container. The movie version uses a heavy-duty rounded enamel bowl. I pulled out the Southern cook trick and used my big cast-iron dutch oven. It heats so evenly, it was perfect.
From there, you layer-layer-layer. Meatballs, ziti, salami, mozzarella and parmesan, provolone, sausages, peppers, boiled eggs, sauce, and more. We added red peppers and spinach for a little color, and next time, I’d add more.
We made a few rookie mistakes, (we should have pressed everything down again and again) but overall, for first time Timpano chefs, I think we did great! It was absolutely delicious, and we’ll make it again when an army shows up at the door to be fed.