Recipe: Cecconi’s Timpano (Stanley Tucci-Approved)

An Italian masterpiece that doesn’t involve paint or canvas.


If only for logistical reasons, this is the season of ultimate communal feasts. Between the Thanksgiving turkey, lacy latkes, cookies, and Christmas ham, there’s only so much gastric real estate to go around. But with the right ingredients (e.g., alcohol and juicy gossip), there’s usually as much fun to be had within the kitchen as without. In the December issue (on newsstands next week!), Cecconi’s chef Andrea Cavaliere shows us how to feed a small Italian food-loving army with a step-by-step photo guide to his Stanley Tucci-approved Timpano. Cavaliere’s version is based on an authentic recipe of the Italian dish made famous by the 1996 movie Big Night. Egg-washed dough browns around a dense, seven-layered center, while cubes of salty salami and provolone top off the meat-heavy bounty. Get your friends and family to help out, and let the stories, and the spirits, flow freely.

Timpano by chef Andrea Cavaliere of Cecconi’s and SoHo House
Serves: 12

Notes: Ragu bolognese and meatballs can be prepared 3 days in advance. Outer dough must be refrigerated for two hours before assembling timpano.
Outer shell dough:
4 eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup water
4 cups all purpose flour

1. Whisk 4 eggs, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and ½ a cup water into 4-cups flour. Form dough into ball and refrigerate two hours.
2. Roll dough into sheet large enough to fill dutch oven, with excess.  You’ll need enough dough to fold over the top of the timpano.
8 cups ragu bolognese (see recipe below)
18 cups cooked ziti, prepared al dente
12 eggs, not quite hardboiled, quartered
3 cups salami, chopped
3 cups provolone, chopped
35 each small meatballs (see recipe below)
1 cup pecorino romano, grated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 each eggs, whisked
1/4 cup butter for coating dutch oven
Ragu Bolognese:
2 pounds beef
3 pounds pork
1 cup each, onions, carrots, celery, finely chopped
1/4 pound bone marrow with bone or 1.5 ounces with just the marrow
1.5 cups red wine
4 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups whole plum tomatoes, milled
3/4 cups veal jus
1 each bouquet garnet (bay, rosemary, thyme, sage)

1. In hot sauté pan brown beef and pork, put aside to rest.
2. Using same pan, sauté onions, carrot and celery, browning evenly.
3. Deglaze the pan with portion of red wine, then stir in the tomato paste to briefly toast.
4. Return vegetables and meat to large pot with remaining ingredients, and allow to simmer 3 hours, stirring constantly.
4. Remove marrow bones and bouquet garnet.
5. Chill briefly, then refrigerate.  The bolognese will keep up to 5 days in fridge
1 pound beef
1 pound pork
2 cups parmigiano reggiano, grated
2 cups dry bread, soaked in enough milk to cover
2 tablespoons rosemary
3 tablespoons thyme
6 tablespoons parsley
7 each lemons, zested
4 eggs (for 2 pounds meat)
4 each cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups San Marzano tomatoes, milled
1/2 cup veal jus or half of veal beef demi
3 calabrese chilis
2 each basil stems
White wine, to deglaze the pan

1. Squeeze milk from bread.
2. Combine the wet ingredients – beef, pork, eggs, bread, parmesan.
3. Combine the dry ingredients – rosemary, thyme, parsley, lemon zest.
4. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together.
5. Roll into marble-sized balls, then chill.
6. Roll the meatballs in flour, then sauté in olive oil until golden brown on all sides.
7. Delgaze the pan with white wine, then add veal jus and the tomatoes.
8. Top with chilis, basil stems, then cover with aluminum
9. Bake 35 minutes at 375 degrees.
10. Remove foil, allow to cool.  Meatballs will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

Assembling the Timpano:
1. Remove outer dough from fridge.
2. Butter dutch oven.
3. Gently mold pasta dough into dish.
4. Layer ingredients in this order: Cooked ziti pasta tossed with tomato sauce, bolognese, grated pecorino romano, braised veal and pork meatballs, and quartered hard boiled eggs.
5. Continue layering with cubes of salame and provolone piccante. Repeat all seven layers until dish is full.
6. Pour 5 beaten eggs into mix. Fold dough over top and cut off excess.  From the excess cut a round piece of dough and place on top of timpani.
7. Seal with dough round and egg wash.
8. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cover and bake another 15 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and let rest for 30 min
10. Carefully flip finished timpano onto cutting board and let rest 30 additional minutes.
11. Cut, serve and enjoy.

Notes: The leftover timpano can be stored as slices in the refrigerator for several days. The timpano can also be frozen whole, but allow a full day to defrost.

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  • Chuck

    It’s not on our menu but because of the movie we have had several requests for us to make them for catering events. I filmed our version several times and made a you-tube video showing different sizes of timpanos being made.
    I think if you watch a video along with the recipe of the article it would go easier for you. Here’s a link to my video below, hope you find it useful: