A “Big Night” Pasta Pie! My “Dinner And A Movie” Is Actor Stanley Tucci’s Incredible Recipe From The Film!

Want A Slice Of Pasta Pie?

I love food. I love Italian food. And I just might love this dish most of all! Imagine being served a beautifully prepared cake – but when you cut into it, you get this!

Or Is It A Pasta Cake?

This one looks like a giant frosted cake!

Look, however you want to describe it, it’s an amazing dish that I plan to make as part of my “dinner and a movie” series, because this incredible dish is featured in one of my favorite “food” movies!

Big Night – 1996

Many consider this to be the best movie ever devoted to food. This 1996 labor of love stars Minnie Driver, Tony Shaloub and Stanley Tucci – AND DIRECTED BY– Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott.

It’s the poignant story of two brothers who struggle to save their failing restaurant – and come up with an idea to get publicity – by putting on a “big night” for a celebrity guest.

While Tucci is smooth as silk at handling the “front of the house”, his more volatile brother Shaloub is a perfectionist in the kitchen – something that threatens to torpedo their “Big Night.”

Check out the trailer:

The signature dish of “Big Night” is the amazing “Timpano” – which I call a “pasta pie” and “pasta cake” interchangeably – but, the “Timpano” is defined as:

“A deep-dish Italian pie consisting of a pastry shell filled with layers of pasta, salami, cheese, meatballs, hardboiled eggs, tomato sauce, and other ingredients that is covered with a crust and baked.”

As you can see, it’s an amazing dish, and the film meticulously showcases the creation of this incredible meal!

Yes, Stanley Tucci is actually “listening” to this dish!

Here is the “Big Night Timpano” recipe – everything made from scratch, but you all know how to simplify with some pre-made ingredients if you want to!

FOR THE PASTA:

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 cup fine bread crumbs

Thanks to the terrific website “Kimchee Mom”, here is a picture of the various steps in the process, all nicely displayed in a single image:


FOR THE SAUCE:

1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, minced
1 medium rib celery, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons chicken broth or white wine
2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, passed through the medium disk of a food mill to remove seeds
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

FOR THE TIMPANO:

1/2 pound penne or other short-shaped pasta, cooked al dente, drained and reserved
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 hard-boiled eggs, cut in quarters
1 pound mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami

PREPARATION:

1.
To make the pasta, mix the flour and the salt together, then stir the salted flour with the eggs and the oil. Continue to stir until the dough comes together in a ball. On a floured work surface, knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until silky smooth. Wrap with plastic and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
2.
Combine all the meatball ingredients. Roll into about 65 balls, using 1 tablespoon of meat for each. In a large nonstick frying pan, cook as many meatballs as will fit in 1 layer over medium heat, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes. Repeat if necessary. Set aside in a bowl at room temperature.
3.
In the same pan used to make the meatballs and utilizing the fat left in the pan, cook the onion, carrot, celery and garlic over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Dissolve the tomato paste in the stock or wine and stir into the vegetables. Cook the mixture for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and basil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
4.
To make the timpano, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the penne with 2 cups of the sauce. Roll out the pasta on a lightly floured surface to make a 26-inch round. Grease a 3-quart stainless- steel bowl with 2 tablespoons of oil and gently mold the pasta sheet to the contours of the bowl; there should be enough hanging over the edge to fold over and cover the filling.
5.
Spoon 1 cup of penne into the bowl. Top with 1/2 cup of the sauce, 12 pieces of egg, half of the meatballs and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat the process, this time using 3 cups of penne, 1 1/2 cups of sauce, the remaining eggs, meatballs and cheese. Top with the remaining penne and sauce. Create a final layer with the salami. Fold the pasta over the filling and brush with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
6.
Bake the timpano for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 45 more minutes. To check if it’s done make a small hole at the top using a knife blade. If steam comes out and the cheese is melted, it’s done. Otherwise, bake for 10 to 15 more minutes. To serve, remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Carefully turn upside down onto a large platter.
YIELD 6 to 8 servings
Originally published with FOOD; Eye Candy
By Molly O’Neill, November 16, 1997

There you have it, an incredible feast for you and friends to dig into before watching this great movie about the love of food!

Also…At the end of “Big Night”, there is a static 4 minute scene involving a single fried egg – the shot above captures the exact camera shot – a moment of simplicity that is full of unspoken emotion between the two brothers – it will make you cry and hungry at the same time.

So there is your “dinner and a movie” tonight – another Italian masterpiece!

“Goodfellas” Garlic!

I previously shared the meatball recipe from “Goodfellas”, which included the legendary “Goodfellas Garlic” process as shown here by the great character Actor Paul Sorvino – I have made these and love them – see the entire recipe here:

https://johnrieber.com/2018/05/22/goodfellas-garlic-paulies-famous-meatball-recipe-dig-into-dinner-and-a-movie-mobster-style/

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Let me know if you’ve seen the great film “Big Night”, or have even made a Timpano – and feel free to share this on social media!



Categories: Art, cookbooks, Food, food blog, Food Review, Great Films, Movies, Pop Culture, Recipes, Talent/Celebrities, Wacky Food

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19 replies

  1. Maybe I’ll be brave enough to tackle that pasta pie on a snow day this winter. Or better yet, have hubby make it. He’s the cook, not me. He can turn leftovers into a killer soup. Yum!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just love that film, John. What a perfect cast! And ever since I watched it, I have wanted to try that pie. Never found anywhere that served it here, and it looks too much of a beast to try to cook one at home in my smallish oven. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such an interesting pasta dish, John. My son, Michael, would love it. I may give it a go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am doing that as well, Robbie…a classic dish! Thanks as always for the comment, great to hear from you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope all is well in your city now, John. Things seem to be slowly returning to normal in the world except we are all wondering around like the masked avengers with our 70% alcohol hand sanitizer tucked into our belts like a weapon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Robbie, we are currently undergoing a spike in cases, so yesterday we were told that we must wear mask in ANY public place in the entire state…this is going to be a LOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNGGGGG 2020…

        Liked by 1 person

      • I heard that things were better in NYC and worse in California and Texas. Things are getting much worse here too, John and I spoke to five people this week who have all been exposed and are waiting to see if they develop symptoms. It is going to be a long year. Lots of time for writing though, on the bright side, and reading too. Hugs.

        Like

      • Yes, we have a number of states now reporting their all-time worst numbers…and a President who keeps saying it’s all being done by Democrats trying to beat him in the election…sickening to see…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Really, that is just weird. Our infections was the highest ever yesterday. I don’t mind being at home as I have lots of things to keep me busy. I’m sad we won’t get to travel this year though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Robbie, it is crazy that the spikes are here – and our President admitted last night to supporters that he asked hhis team to slow down testing because he didn’t like seeing the positive numbers…we are the laughing stock of the world….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing food and film! I promoted this film in the Detroit market and spent a couple of days w Stanley on his pr tour here. While here, he prepared risotto and chicken piccata on the am news and it was delicious! Takes me back – I love food movies and this is one of my favorites

    Like

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