One of the best recipes I've found for this legendary Italian dish! Recipe of a person named "Skip",  and
that's all I know about him. (FOUND OUT SOMETHING ABOUT "SKIP"!) An e-mail from a visitor went like

On your web site you give a recipe for timpano which you credit to "Skip".  You say you know nothing
else about him.  Well I know a tad more.  Perhaps this brief recollection will interest you.

I did not know Skip ____  (I've forgotten his name) personally. I never met him but I did correspond with
him a bit by email. He  used to host a web site devoted mostly to Boston's famed "North End", one of
the best known Italian neighborhoods in the US.  (If memory serves this was before "blogging" became a
word.) I believe his was the first Timpano recipe to appear on the web.  As is apparent from his recipe, 
he was a "professional Italian", by which I mean one that reveled in his ancestry, and was a proud North Ender.


Gerry Wildenberg

The recent success of the movie, The Big Night has created a kind of mania over Timpano, or Timballo di Maccheroni. Perhaps rightly so: the dish takes several hours to prepare, combines three or four recipes that are delicious in their own right, and creates an instant feast when brought to the table.

But Italians have been enjoying Timpano--if only once or twice per year--in one form or another since the Renaissance. Nearly every region of Italy includes some kind of savory pie in their cuisine; from Torta Pasqualina in Emilia-Romagna, to Capelli d'Angeli al Forno in Tuscany, to Timballo di Maccheroni in Abruzzi and Calabria.

The key to success with this dish will be your organization. Be sure to have all ingredients on hand, and allow enough time to get everything but the assembly done in advance. Your reward could be canonization, nomination for the Nobel Prize, or--at a minimum--a hearty round of applause when you bring the Timpano to the table.

As I said, this dish breaks down to be three or four excellent recipes, and you can cook 90 % of it in advance. When you've started the sauce--which will take three to four hours--you can complete the rest of the preparation at your lesiure and simply assemble the dish about one and a half hours before you plan to serve


1 Medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 Stalk celery, washed and roughly chopped
1 Medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
4 Cloves garlic, peeled
2 oz. pancetta
4 Tbs. flat-leaf Italian parsley
2 Tbs. Olive oil
1 Lb. "Country-style" pork spare ribs
3 Cups dry red wine
1 4 Oz. Can tomato paste
1 28 Oz. Can Italian plum tomatoes
4 Sweet Italian sausages


I must give credit where credit is due. And I must confess that I don't bake. My record for creating disaster out of pastry crust remains unblemished from the early nineteen-seventies. So I depend on Laurie, who is a genius-level baker, for this part of the recipe.

2 Cups All-purpose flour
1/2 Cup (2 sticks) frozen, unsalted butter, cut into 1 Tbs. pieces
pinch (scant 1/4 tsp.) salt
2 Large eggs


If you grew up in an Italian-American household, as I did, you'll very likely recognize this recipe for meatballs. But if you have a "secret recipe" of your own, by all means use it here.

1/2 Lb. ground beef
1 Large egg
1/2 Cup bread crumbs
1 Clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
4 Tbs. flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/4 Cup freshly grated Parmigiano
salt & freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil


1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
4 chicken livers, all visible fat removed
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. cognac


2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
2 chicken breasts, skin removed
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Cup dry white wine
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tbs. flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped


1 Lb. penne rigate or ziti
1 Cup frozen baby peas
2 Large eggs, hardboiled and quartered lengthwise
1/2 Lb. fresh Mozzarella, cut into irregular 1/4 inch slices
Freshly grated Parmigiano
4 Tbs. flat-leaf Italian Parsley, finely chopped

Put the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, pancetta and parsley in a food processor and pulse about ten times for one second each pulse. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, then the chopped vegetables. Lower the heat and saute the mixture-- known as a batutto--for ten or fifteen minutes or until they soften and brown very lightly.

Add the pork ribs, cover the pot and cook over low heat for one hour. At the end of the hour, uncover the pot, raise the heat to high and add the wine. Allow the wine to boil for a minute or two in order to burn off the alcohol. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer gently for about an hour, or until the wine has reduced to about 1 cup. Remove the ribs and reserve them for another purpose, like spuntature e fagioli, pork ribs and beans.

Whisk in the tomato paste, then add the plum tomatoes. Stir, breaking up the tomatoes, to combine with the wine reduction and tomato paste. Add the sausages, cover the pot and cook over low heat for one more hour. At the end of the hour, remove the sausages, cool, cut them in fourths and reserve.


When you've gotten the sauce cooking, turn your attention to the recipe with the next longest preparation time, the pastry crust. While actual preparation is quick, the crust will need to rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Combine the flour, butter and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about ten times for one second for each pulse. Add the eggs and run the machine steadily until a ball forms and just begins to clean the sides of the bowl.

If the dough seems too soft, add 1 - 2 Tbs. flour and run the machine for five or six seconds to recombine the mixture.

If the dough seems too dry, add 1 - 2 Tbs. ice water and do the same.

Turn the dough ball out onto plastic wrap, cover tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour.


Mix togther, the ground beef, egg and bread crumbs, then stir in the garlic, parsley and Parmigiano. Season with a little salt & pepper.

Form the ground beef mixture into balls about the size of golf balls. I usually wind up with seven to nine, depending on how large I make the first few.

Heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat, then add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan to a depth of about 1/4 inch. Add the meatballs and saute all over, regulating the heat if necessary to avoid excessive spattering. The meatballs are done when they're brown all over, and have a slight crust.

Remove, drain on paper towels and reserve.


Heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat, then add the butter. When the butter has melted and any foam has subsided, add the shallots and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until they're wilted; about four or five minutes.

Pat the chicken livers dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper and add to the saute pan. Cook for two or three minutes on each side, or until there's no trace of pink on the livers, and they've browned slightly. Carefully add the cognac, tilt the pan slightly to ignite, or carefully ignite with a match, and cook, swirling the pan from time to time, until the flames have subsided. Remove the chicken livers and reserve with their sauce.


Heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat then add the butter. When the butter has melted and any foam has subsided, add the shallots and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until they're wilted; about four or five minutes (does this sound familiar?).

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and add to the saute pan. Cook, shaking the pan from time to time, until the first side begins to brown, and the edges of the chicken breast begin to whiten. Turn the breasts over and repeat.

Raise the heat to high, add the wine and boil for a minute or two to burn off the alcohol. Reduce the heat to medium, add the lemon juice and parsley, and allow the liquid to bubble until it has reduced to approximately two to three tablespoons. Remove the breasts and reserve with their sauce.


Remove the pastry crust from the refrigerator and divide into two portions, one slightly larger than the other. Return the smaller portion to the refrigerator befor proceeding. Lightly flour a board or your countertop, then roll the pastry out into a rough circle, 14 or 15 inches in diameter by 1/4 inch thick.

Thouroughly butter the bottom and sides of a 10 - 12 inch springform pan, and place the dough in the pan, carefully pressing all around to flatten the bottom, and gently pressing the dough up the sides of the pan. Use a paring knife to create an even edge at the top of the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Remove the second portion of dough from the refrigerator and roll out into a roughly formed circle approximately 10 - 12 inches in diameter. Place on a floured sheetpan, cover loosley with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 f., and bring a large pot of water to the boil for the pasta. Cook the penne (or ziti) until al dente, drain in a collander and reserve. While the pasta is cooking, slice the chicken breasts diagonally into 1/2 - 1 inch strips.

Remove the pastry shell from the refrigerator, and assemble all of the ingredients necessary for the final assembly.

Place a layer of pasta in the bottom of the pastry shell, about 1 inch deep. Ladle about 1 Cup of the Ragω evenly over the pasta, then sprinkle half the peas over that. Arrange half the sausages, meatballs, chicken breasts, chicken livers, hard boiled eggs and mozzarella on top of the pasta, then sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano and freshly chopped Italian parsley.

Repeat the process with the remainder of the pasta, sauce, peas, sausages, meatballs, chicken breasts, chicken livers, hard boiled eggs, mozzarella and Parmigaino. Save just enough sauce, though, for one final coating on the pasta before you attach the top crust to the Timpano. Also, pour any accumulated juices from the chicken breasts and chicken livers over the pasta before sealing with the top crust.

Remove the top crust from the refrigerator, place on top of the springform pan, trim the edges with a paring knife or scissors, then pinch the top and bottom crusts together with your fingers.

Make two or three 1 inch slits in the top crust to vent steam during the cooking process, place in the center of the pre-heated oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes. The pastry should be well browned, all the ingredients should be thouroughly heated, and the cheese melted.

Remove the sides from the springform pan, put the Timpano on a platter and serve at the table. Be gracious when the guests applaud.

Serves twelve.


I have a visitor,

David Waxman,

who frequents this site and has become an expert on Timpano. I think anyone who
attempts this recipe should read his e-mail to me. I think his results are fantastic.(See Pix)
Dear Gutsy Gourmet,
I first found your website in 2004 while living in Vermont looking for a recipe for Timpano.  What
found can only be explained as life altering. Over the past 6 years, I have made this dish more
than 2 dozen times, and it still leaves people in a state of disbelief. This recipe is nothing short of exceptional.

There are dozens of Timpano recipes on line (many of which I have made) and there is NOTHING CLOSE
to the recipe on your site. I made it again a couple of weeks ago to rave reviews. It just
keeps getting better and better.

I wanted to take a short moment to thank you for such a great website. I have done my best to
promote it to friends and family, and will continue to utilize it as long as you continue to
keep it up.
You are an inspiration to all aspiring cooks...thank you.

ps- I thought I should mention 2 things that dramatically improve this dish. First, do not use a
springform pan! Making this dish in a large glass Pyrex bowl enables the cook to see how the
crust is browning through the glass, and also is much more easily removed. Second, the pastry recipe is 50%
short. I have doubled the pastry crust recipe every time since I initially made the dish, and it works out perfectly.

The latest visitor to the Gutsy Gourmet site to try this recipe is

Mary Beidler,

who fed a group at her 2011 Superbowl Party. A smash hit to say the least.

She writes" Success!! What a hit this dish was with my hungry super bowl guests! I used a pastry crust that included some sour cream and added a layer of pasta with besciamella sauce. It was a good thing that we had some strong and brave men around to flip the thing...I made it in a 10 qt stainless steel bowl and it must have weighed 20 pounds! Thank you! Mary Beidler

Please report any bad links..Thanks, Buzz


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