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Stanley Tucci’s Timpano

by Stanley Tucci from Taste: My Life Through Food

Master Stanley Tucci's iconic timpano, a pie of homemade dough stuffed with leftover ragù and pasta.

Introduction

The dough for timpano is rolled out into a thin round, the diameter of which is determined by the pan you are baking it in. Add together the diameter of the bottom of the pan, the diameter of the top of the pan, and twice the height of the pan. The total will equal the approximate diameter needed. The dough may be kneaded in advance and set aside while you prepare the pan or refrigerated overnight. Return it to room temperature before rolling it out. It is important to generously grease the pan with butter and olive oil before lining the pan with the dough. Greasing and lining the pan with the dough may be done while the pasta is cooking. The meat used in preparing the ragù is generally served for dinner the night before the timpano is baked, because no one has room for anything other than salad after eating timpano.

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Ingredients

For the dough:
500g plain flour, plus more for dusting
4 large eggs
1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp olive oil
125ml water
To prepare the pan:
butter
olive oil
For the filling:
1.3kg ziti, cooked very al dente (about half the time recommended on the package) and drained
2 tbsp olive oil
Twice recipe quantity of Ragù Tucci, at room temperature (link to recipe below)
800g Genoa salami (5 x 10mm pieces), at room temperature
800g sharp provolone cheese (5 x 10mm cubes), at room temperature
12 hard-boiled large eggs, shelled, quartered lengthwise, and each quarter cut in half to create chunks, at room temperature
24 little meatballs, at room temperature
100g finely grated Pecorino Romano
6 large eggs, beaten

Essential kit

You will need: a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or a large-capacity food processor.

Method

Make the dough: Place the flour, eggs, salt and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. (A large-capacity food processor may also be used.) Add 3 tablespoons of the water and mix. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together and forms a ball. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead to make sure it is well mixed, about 10 minutes. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

(To knead the dough by hand, mix the flour and salt together on a clean, dry work surface or pastry board. Form the dry ingredients into a mound and then make a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the centre of the well and beat them lightly with a fork. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the water. Use the fork to gradually incorporate some of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Continue mixing the dry ingredients into the eggs, adding the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead the dough with your hands to make a well-mixed, smooth, dry dough. If the dough becomes too sticky, add more flour. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.)

Flatten the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour and roll it out, dusting with flour and flipping the dough over from time to time to keep it from sticking to the board, until it is about 2mm thick and the desired diameter.

Prepare the pan: Grease the timpano baking pan very generously with butter and olive oil so that it is well lubricated. Fold the dough in half and then in half again to form a triangle and place it in the pan. Unfold the dough and arrange it in the pan, gently pressing it against the bottom and the side and draping the extra dough over the side. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Make the filling: Toss the drained pasta with the olive oil and allow it to cool slightly before tossing with a quarter of the ragù. Distribute about a quarter of the pasta over the dough on the bottom of the timpano. Top with a quarter of the salami, a quarter of the provolone, 3 of the hard- boiled eggs, a quarter of the meatballs, and a third of the Romano cheese. Pour another quarter of the ragù over these ingredients. Repeat this process to create additional layers using an equal amount of each ingredient until they have come within 2cm of the top of the pan, ending with a final layer of the ragù. Pour the beaten eggs over the filling. Fold the dough over the filling to seal completely. Trim away and discard any overlapping dough. Make sure that the timpano is tightly sealed. If you notice any small openings, cut a piece of the trimmed dough to fit over the opening, using a small amount of water to moisten the scraps to ensure a tight seal has been made.

Bake until lightly browned, about 1 hour. Then cover with aluminium foil and continue baking until the dough is golden brown and the timpano is cooked through (and reaches an internal temperature of 48°C), about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes to cool and contract before attempting to remove from the pan. (The baked timpani should not adhere to the pan. To test, gently shake the pan to the left and then to the right. It should spin slightly in the pan. If any part is still attached, carefully detach with a knife.)

To remove the timpano from the pan, place a baking sheet or thin cutting board that’s large enough to cover the entire diameter of the pan on top of the timpano. Grasp the baking sheet or cutting board and the rim of the timpano pan firmly and invert the timpano. Remove the pan and allow the timpano to cool for 30 minutes more.

Using a long, sharp knife, cut a circle approximately 8cm in diameter in the centre of the timpano, making sure to cut all the way through to the bottom. Then slice the timpano into individual portions as you would a pie, leaving the centre circle as a support for the remaining pieces. The cut pieces should hold together, revealing the built- up layers of great stuff.

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