Timpano - My favourite!

I found the recipe for this Italian crowd pleaser in an edition of Australian Gourmet Traveller and since then I've prepared it every year, usually during winter. It feeds a small army and is perfect for a family gathering washed down with a nice Chianti. It's a labour of love but well worth the effort. If serving for a dinner party I start prep in the morning.

This recipe is re-written directly from the one published in the May 2006 Australian Gourmet Traveller (p. 107) and I have slightly tweaked it to my preference. Serves 8-12 people.


500 gm bucatini or spagetti pasta, cooked
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
2 cups cooked green peas
2 cacciatore sausages thinly sliced
2 balls of fresh mozzarella, sliced
150 gm grated parmesan cheese
1 cup of tomato passata 
1 beaten egg with a tbs of milk added

For the pastry

500 gm strong plain white flour
125 gm cold unsalted butter, chopped
2 tbs caster sugar
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 egg
3 egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water

For the meat sauce

1/4 cup of olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 large brown onion finely chopped
6 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
2 celery stalks finely chopped
1 medium bunch of parsley finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
500 gm minced beef
500 gm minced veal
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups tomato passata
4 tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste

For the meatballs

500 gm minced pork
500 gm minced beef
Small handful finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (dried packet or fresh)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 egg beaten
20 gm butter
4 tbs olive oil
4 tbs marsala

For the bechamel sauce

1 litre of full cream milk
2 fresh bay leaves
120 gm butter, chopped
120 gm plain white flour
100 gm paremesan, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg


Step 1
For the pastry, process the flour, sugar, butter, salt and olive oil in a food processor until it is like breadcrumbs. Whilst the processor is running, add egg and egg yolks and slowly pour in the water. Pour out onto a hard surface lightly dusted with flour and knead for a couple of minutes. Form into a disc shape, wrap in plastic film wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

Step 2
For the meat sauce, heat 4 tbs of the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, parsley and oregano and saute for about 5 minutes until soft. transfer to a bowl and add remaining oil to the saucepan. Add the minced beef and veal and cook stirring constantly for up to 10 minutes or until the meat is all browned. Add the wine, passata, tomato paste and water and cook for another 5 minutes. Add back the cooked vegetables, add cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 45 minutes. Allow to cool.

Step 3
For the meatballs, combine the meat, parsley, garlic, breadcrumbs and egg and really work the mixture together with your hand for 2-3 minutes until thoroughly mixed. Shape into balls about half the size of golf balls. Place onto a baking paper lined tray and place in the fridge for at least an hour. Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add the meatballs and cook over a medium heat, turning constantly until golden brown (approximately 5 minutes). transfer to a tray with absorbent paper and then into a bowl. Increase the pan heat to high and deglaze the pan with the marsala and then pour over the meatballs. Allow to cool. 

Step 4
For the bechamel sauce, heat the milk and bay leaves in a saucepan over a low heat for 10 minutes. melt the butter in a separate saucepan over a medium heat and then add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Slowly add the milk mixture, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens (remove the bay leaves at this point). Remove from the heat and allow to cool, a little. Stir in the grated parmesan and nutmeg. 

Step 5
Roll out the pastry onto a hard surface dusted with flour. Roll it out until it's about 2mm thick, you'll need a large surface area for this. Grease a large 8L to 10L round baking dish (see the one in the background of the photo above) and line the dish with the pastry, ensure there is excess overhanging as you'll need to fold this back over to cover the ingredients. Combine the pasta with 1 cup of the bechamel sauce and 1 cup of meat sauce then spread half of the pasta mixture over the base of the pastry lined dish. pour over half the remaining meat sauce, meatballs and bechamel, top with half the peas, eggs (broken up, sliced sausage, mozzarella, parmesan and passata and repeat the process with remaining ingredients creating layers. press down the ingredients and fold over the pastry to completely seal the dish. Brush with the egg/milk mixture and place into a pre-heated fan forced oven at 180C and bake for 1 hour. Remove and cover with aluminium foil and bake for a further 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Invert out onto a wooden serving board and slice into wedges to serve. 


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