The Baked Italian Pie Called Timpano

The movie Big Night has been dubbed as one of the best foodie movies ever produced and stars Stanley Tucci. This film sees two brothers running a failing restaurant. 

They upped their game by serving Timpano to their patrons. Made by using minimalistic ingredients and a timpano pan will result in exquisite flavors and excellent presentation to impress!

There is no doubt that this movie catapulted this dish to fame by increasing the curiosity thereof.

Big Night movie, The‌ ‌Baked‌ ‌Italian‌ ‌Pie‌ ‌Called‌ ‌Timpano‌ - The Proud Italian
Big Night movie poster, source IMDB

What is Timpano?

Otherwise known as timballo is derived from the French word meaning kettledrum. As with any other Italian dish, each of Italy’s 20 regions has its own unique take on the recipe.

It is a typically baked Italian dish that can be crafted from potatoes, pasta, or rice, combined with an array of different ingredients such as cheeses, meats, and seafood.

In Emilio-Romagna, rice is used as the base ingredient, while Abruzzo prefers to use crepes. On the other hand, Sicily chooses to marry eggplant and pasta together to create this piece of perfection.

Timpano pie, The Baked Italian Pie Called Timpano - The Proud Italian

Timpano DIY Recipe

Timpano is one of Italy’s most inspiring and authentic recipes and one that definitely needs to be tried at home for a romantic date night in. Covid does not need to affect your dating life…wink wink!

Timpano Italian Style

Yield: 8 Portions

Pasta Ingredients

  • 16 oz ’00’ grade pasta flour 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 9 egg yolks

Herb Infused Ricotta Mixture

  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup freshly chopped parsley
  • ½ cup freshly chopped basil
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Ricotta with herbs, The Baked Italian Pie Called Timpano - The Proud Italian

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried rigatoni
  • 2 cups dried jumbo shell pasta
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, broken into pieces
  • 10 meatballs
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs
  • 10 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 cups caramelized onion
  • 8 cooked, hot Italian sausages
  • Additional marinara sauce, for serving
  • Olive oil, for greasing pot

Preparation and Directions

  1. Make the pasta dough. Add the flour and salt and make a small mountain of flour on a clean, flat surface. Make a hole in the middle.
  2. Add 2 eggs to the hole, and using a fork, carefully incorporate the eggs into the flour.
  3. Add the egg yolks and carefully combine them into the flour.
  4. Once the eggs are incorporated, knead the dough by pulling, stretching, and folding until it’s smooth and elastic.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for half an hour or overnight.
  6. Make the ricotta-herb mixture. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, parsley, basil, parmesan cheese, egg, salt, and pepper. Combine well and set aside.
  7. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the rigatoni, then the jumbo shell pasta for 5 minutes less than the suggested cooking time. Transfer the cooked pasta to two separate medium bowls.
  8. Mix the marinara sauce with cooked rigatoni. Set aside.
  9. Stuff the jumbo shells with the ricotta-herb mixture. Set aside.
  10. Grease a 10-inch diameter dutch oven with olive oil.
  11. Using a rolling pin, roll out the pasta dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about ⅛ inches thick and twice as large as the Dutch oven you are using.
  12. Fold the rolled out dough into a triangle and transfer it to the pot, pressing down around the edges, letting the excess dough hang over the sides of the pot.
  13. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
  14. Layer the pasta-lined pot with the rigatoni, mozzarella, meatballs, hard-boiled eggs, provolone, ricotta-stuffed shells, caramelized onions, and sausages.
  15. Fold the pasta dough over the sausages and cover with the lid. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another half an hour. Cool for at least 30 minutes.
  16. Invert the timpano onto a cutting board and cool for 10 more minutes before cutting.
  17. Serve with marinara sauce.
  18. Enjoy!

Table with candles, wine, bread and cheese, The Baked Italian Pie Called Timpano - The Proud Italian

A Typical Timpano Date Night

Anyone can have a big night, Italian style!

Start by setting the ambiance with romantic Italian music, set the table, and have plenty of candles around.

Have your timpano or timballo over light-hearted conversation and cuddle up on the couch afterward with the movie Big Night and some gelato!


Enjoy this baked Italian dish in the comfort of your home, and pair it with a romantic movie night. Why not try a different spin each time, inspired by the 20 regions of Italy. Which variant was your favorite?