Stanley Tucci’s Family “Pasta Pie” aka “Timpano!” My “52 In 22″ Cooking Challenge Wraps With A BIG BIG”Big Night” Baked Drum Of Food!

Behold The Majesty Of Stanley Tucci’s Family Timpano Recipe!

What a way to end 2022!

Yes, I made this incredible dish, and if you don’t know what it is, then get ready for a wild culinary tour through Italy by way of an Actor / Writer / Cookbook Author’s family history!

Celebrating Stanley Tucci’s “Taste!”

Acclaimed Actor and Author Stanley Tucci published a memoir about growing up in an Italian family, and that meant a “taste” for great food – like a “Timpano!”

Here’s how Tucci describes it in his terrific memoir “Taste”:

“There is a dish, a very special dish, that is served in our home on Christmas Day. It is called “Timpano.” This is a baked drum of patty-like dough filled with pasta, rags, salami, various cheeses, hard-boiled eggs and meatballs. It’s a big, heavy dish, and needless to say very filling. The recipe and the tradition of serving it on special occasions, particularly Christmas, were brought to America by my father’s family.”

Well, not to give anything away, but I did it with a lot of help!

How did I get to that point? Well, I am going to share all of it with you!

This recipe calls for three different preps: the dough that encases the Timpano, the filling of the Timpano, and the sauce for the Timpano!

First up, let’s get the sauce going, as it simmers for hours!

Here are your ingredients:

1 pound stewing beef, trimmed of fat and cut into medium chunks

1 pound country spareribs

1 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves chopped

1/2 cup dry red wine

6 oz. can tomato paste

1-1/2 cups warm water

8 cups canned whole plum tomatoes, pureed in a blender

3 fresh basil elaves

1 tbl. oregano

First, warm the olive oil in a stew pot and sear the beef over medium-high heat until brown on all sides – five to ten minutes total…

Set the beef aside and add your spareribs into the same pot and do the same, then set them aside as well –

Now, add the onions and garlic, reduce the heat to low and cook about 5 minutes – yes, the house is already smelling terrific!

Next, add the wine and stir to bring up the meaty bits in the pot – oh, and if you need a glass of it to help the process along, feel free – I did!

Next, add the tomato paste – then add 1/2 cup water and stir to make sure the tomato paste is smooth….add the rest of the water, cook for 2-3 minutes then add the tomatoes – I used whole and mashed them up in the pot!

Hello Basil, my old friend! Dice your bail and add it to the sauce…

Add your Oregano as well, then cover the lid partly and simmer for 30 minutes – what an aroma!

Return The Meat To The Party!

After letting the sauce simmer, add the meat back to the pot and let it simmer for 2 hours – and here is what you get!

This is a rich, delicious meaty sauce – the meat and ribs have broken down in the sauce…rich and hearty and ready for the Timpano!

So now we need the dough to hold this!

Here are the ingredients for the dough – which you make while the sauce is simmering:

4 cups flour plus a bit for dusting

4 large eggs

1 tsp kosher salt

2 tbls. olive oil

1/2 cup water

I used a mixer until it formed a nice ball. Alex captured a bit of the process:

After kneading it for 10 minutes, it’s time to roll it out for your Timpano casing!

Dust your board and roll it out until it is about 1/16th inch thick and the diameter you need. Tucci explains how to determine that amount below:

The dough is rolled out into a thin round, the diameter determined by the size of the pan being used….Add the diameter of the bottom the top and twice the depth – that’s how much dough you will need!

Here are the final ingredients for your “Timpano” build:

3 pounds Ziti, cooked very al dente (about half the suggested time)

2 tbls olive oil

4 cups diced Genoa Salami

4 cups cubed sharp provolone cheese

12 hard-boiled large eggs, which when ready to compile the Timpano will be quartered lengthwise then cut in half again for chunks

A dozen meatballs, formed and ready to use

1 cup finely grated pecorino romano

6 large eggs beaten

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees – and it’s time to put this together!

Fold the dough in half and in half again to form a triangle and place in the pan. Unfold the dough and arrange it, gently pressing it against the bottom and the side and draping the extra dough over the side.

Alex captured the entire process!

Here it is again: layer after layer of flavor…

Distribute those 4 generous cups of pasta over the dough on the bottom of the Timpano.

Top with one cup of salami, 1 cup of provolone, 3 of the cut hard-boiled eggs, 1 cut of meatballs and 1/3 cup of the Romano cheese.

Pour two cups of the ragu sauce over it all.

Do it all again exactly the same way until you are within one inch of the top of the pan, and finish with 2 cups of ragu.

The last thing to do is to pour the beaten eggs over the whole thing and now it’s time to close it up!

Carefully fold the dough over the top and make sure it is completely sealed!

Make sure your Timpano is tightly sealed, using the leftover scraps of dough as a seal – use a small bit of water to moisten them so they stick tightly.

Now, put it into your oven and let it bake until lightly brown, about an hour!

After an hour. cover the top with aluminum foil and continue baking until it’s golden brown, about 30 more minutes.

Pull from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes, which will make it contract slightly and come out of the pan…use a knife along the space between pan and pie if needed to ensure it is loose.

Now the fun part: place a large baking sheet or cutting board on top – make sure it covers the whole pie – and invert it. You can see our friend David Goldberg ready to help me do just that….enjoy!

We had to “listen” to make sure the Timpano was ready….here is the shot from “Big Night” where Tucci and Shalom do the same!

The “Timpano” Revealed!

And here is the end result! It came out of the pan easily and held its shape perfectly!

Yes, I was VERY happy with how this turned out – but how did it look inside?

To serve, Tucci says to cut a circle about 3 inches in dimmer in the center of the Timpano…make sure to cut all the way to the bottom!

Alex shot this as I sliced a piece f the Timpano, because it was time to serve:

As you can see, you slice it into individual portions…the center three inch circle will provide support to your pie and as you pull out a cut piece it will, as Stanley writes:

“Reveal the building-up layers of great stuff!”

And did it ever!


As the group re-filled their champagne glasses for a toast, I took a closer look at this dish:

Stanley admits it’s a tough dish, a temperamental one, but it will be worth it!

I probably should have let it rest a bit longer, but it still held up very well, and you can see the egg, cheese, meatballs and of course pasta packed in to the homemade casing!

After all of that work, it was time to gather around the table and enjoy – thanks to Nicole, Bill, Sophie, Olivia, Ana, David and of course Alex, who seemed happy at the end of the table:

So that’s it: the end of the “52 In 22” cooking challenge that saw me cook from 52 different cookbooks in 2022…here are some interesting points to share:

Tucci Rules!

I cooked from Stanley Tucci’s cookbook earlier this year, another family recipe, and guess what?

It was my #1 most viewed post, and you can see why by clicking on my story here:

Here was the second most popular:

“Sunday Gravy” With A Tucci Assist!

Yep, this “Sopranos” Sunday Gravy recipe had a Tucci assist – click here to see why:

There seems to be a Hollywood connection with these as this was the third most popular “52 In 22 Cooking Challenge” post for the year:

Yes, the legendary Musso & Frank restaurant included some classic recipe snacks dHollywood’s best Martini as well – click her for all of the recipes!

The popular Hollywood them continued thanks to Elizabeth Taylor:

You see, Liz loved the Chili from Chasen’s restaurant, and you will do when you make it – here’s the recipe!

This was the most complicated dish I made, thanks to one of America’s most acclaimed Chefs:

Of course, you can simplify the process, but I didn’t and it was worth it! Click here for the recipe:

This was my biggest cooking disaster – when I made this cake:

Yes, I named it “Pisa” because it was a learning tower…but it was delicious – you can see where I went wrong by clicking on the story here:

Thanks to all who followed along this past year!

You can find all 52 recipes here on the blog – just click the “food” category on the main page – and if you like these stories, please subscribe to the blog – there are NO ads of any kind, just stuff I like – from music to movies, books, travel, food and more…click on the main page and “follow” me on the upper right…

As for my “52 Cookbooks 52 Recipes” challenge, I am sharing and storing all of these recipes on my “food and only food” website as well:

“Bite! Eat! Repeat!” is your site for all things food – from these step-by-step cooking directions for 52 dishes from around the world – to fun stuff like Caviar Tater Tots!

Here’s just one of the many fun stores you can find there:

If you like what you see, please click on my link and follow this blog as well!

Thank you for following along on my culinary journey. If you like the story, share it with friends on social media! Thanks!

Categories: Art, Books / Media, cookbooks, Food, food blog, Food Review, Memoirs, Pop Culture, Recipes, Talent/Celebrities, Wacky Food

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16 replies

  1. Awesome job..congrats on your 52 in ’22 series…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘big drum of food’ is right! what an amazing showstopper as the finale to your year’s challenge. bravo! looks like it turned out beautifully

    Liked by 1 person

  3. WOW!! This is an all day labor of love cooking event- and well worth it. I remember Stanley on the show. What a great guy! Can you imagine being a kid and having this special family dish? Thanks, John.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, what an all-inclusive dish! Looks absolutely amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amazing!! You did such a great job. It is an entire day project!! I watched the videos twice and clapped when it came out of the pot intact. Bravo!! What a way to end the year!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a way to finish those challenges! John, that was OUTSTANDING!
    I love that film, and you did the pie justice in every way imaginable.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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