Timpano Di Maccheroni (The Mythic Pasta Dome)

"Description:Notes from Mario Batali: "anyone who has seen Stanley Tucci's cinematic masterpiece, Big Night, will remember Primo's rendition of this classic, which takes its name from a large drum. My version differs from that one in many ways, but like it, it makes for a dramatic presentation. Surprisingly, it is not nearly as tricky to prepare as it looks. Except for the rigatoni, you can prepare the whole thing the day before; just blanch the pasta and assemble the dish in the afternoon before your guests arrive. It can then rest in the refrigerator for several hours before the final cooking. You will need a 4 quart metal mixing bowl for the final assembly. from s'kat: It was two years before I finally found an occasion I could whip this out for. I did all of my prep work in the weeks preceding the recipe, freezing the components as I went along. The day of the assembly, I only had to make the besciamella sauce, which took mere minutes. I also cheated, in that I! didn't make fresh pasta, I bought some from a local Italian deli. Although this didn't come out exactly perfectly, I'm posting it in the hopes that someone else who may want to make this can help me figure out the proper baking times. When I pulled it out, it wasn't warm enough in the middle. I kept it going for at least another 30 minutes, even turning up the temperature towards the end. Additionally, when I went to cut my first wedge and pull it out, the pasta collapsed when free of the dome, instead of sticking together. It still tasted incredible, and there were audible gasps when I hauled this sucker out to the dining room. It is my intention to make it at least once a year, from now on. Have fun!"
photo by skat5762 photo by skat5762
photo by skat5762
photo by Linajjac photo by Linajjac
photo by skat5762 photo by skat5762
Ready In:
25hrs 30mins
1 timpano




  • To make the dough: Place the flour on a wooden work surface, make a well in the top.
  • Cut the lard or other fat into ¼-inch pieces and place in the center of the well with the yolks, ½ teaspoon salt, and a teaspoon of ice water.
  • Mix well with the tips of your fingers to form a lumpy mass.
  • Bring together as a dough and knead for 4-5 minutes.
  • Wrap in plastic and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
  • Roll out pasta to a large circle ¼-inch thick.
  • Butter the metal bowl and dust thickly with the toasted bread crumbs.
  • Line the buttered dish completely with the sheet of pasta, with a 1 ½-inch edge overhang.
  • Boil 6 quarts of water in a large pasta pot, then add 2 Tablespoons of salt.
  • Cook the rigatoni/ziti in the boiling water, 3 minutes less than the package instructions state.
  • Drain and refresh under cold running water, or an ice bath, until cold, 2-3 minutes.
  • Toss with olive oil, and set aside.
  • Mix half of the cooked rigatoni/ziti with 2 ½ cups meat sauce and ½ cup of Parmiagiano, and set aside.
  • Mix the remaining cooked rigatoni with half of the Besciamella, ¼ cup of Parmigiano, the prosciutto, and nutmeg.
  • (Cook's Note: I probably didn't add quite as much sauce as the recipe suggests, just added enough until it looked right.) Place this besciamella-sauced rigatoni/ziti into the bowl, and press lightly.
  • Sprinkle with some of the grated Parmigiano, I added a good layer.
  • Arrange the meatballs on top in an even layer, and press down again.
  • Sprinkle with more Parmigiano.
  • Spread the meat-sauced pasta over the meatballs and press down gently.
  • Fold the extra pasta over the whole thing, and press gently to seal.
  • Cover the open top with foil and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, remove the foil, and invert onto a large serving platter, without removing the bowl.
  • Allow to rest 10 minutes, then carefully loosen the pasta around the sides with a knife and knock with your knuckles to release the bowl.
  • (Mine slid right out without a problem.) Serve immediately with the remaining shredded Parmigiano on the side, cutting the timpano into wedges to serve.

Questions & Replies

  1. Do you have to have an actual Timpanoq basin? I want to make the recipe from the Big Night article in The NY Times but it calls for a 6 quart Timpano basin and feeds 16. I have a smaller group but I’m not finding smaller Timpano basins.
  2. I would like to make a Timpano for my grandaighter’s first Communion luncheon but this means I cannot be in the kitchen for most of the morning as I will be in church and then over 40 people will descend at my house for the luncheon ... immediately after church My question is: can I make the Timpano ahead (I mean fully baked l, fully finished) and re-heat it? The day before? Or even very early before going to church? I’m afraid the answer is no but I still want to ask ...


  1. This was a really fun recipe. I used jarred pasta meat sauce and made my own meatballs. I used way more cheese and also added mozzarella to the layers. I also used Italian bread crumbs. I baked this just a lil over 2 hours and let it sit upside down on the platter with the bowl on for a half hour. I removed the bowl and let it sit for another 15 minuste. PERFECT and still hot. I never had a problem with it falling apart. Letting it rest is the most important step. Edited to add, I used lots more sauce.. I wanna say over 3 cups. Next time, I'll ue even more. That will work if I make a wee thicker crust.
  2. For my birthday, my mom and sister and I made this dish. It had been a dream of mine to make the dish from "Big Night" for years. My mom was nice enough to do all of the prep work (making the meatballs and sauces). Since it was my birthday, I got to assemble. We cheated and used prepared pie crusts (3 of the kind that come rolled up and refrigerated). We used a very large metal mixing bowl to bake the thing. Ours turned out quite a bit flatter but still delicious! We actually baked it for a little over 2 hours, and it was perfectly done. It was a lot of work but fun to do as a group. A must do at least once in a lifetime!


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