I just finished watching “Big Night” on Showtime, and had a question about one of the dishes served. “Big Night” is about two brothers trying to run an Italian restaurant (in the late 1950s USA) that serves traditional Italian cuisine. Their restaurant isn’t doing very well though, but one across the street that serves spaghetti and meatballs is. The owner of the successful restaurant offers to help the brothers: he’s invited a famous jazz musician to come have dinner in their restaurant. So they prepare a huge Italian feast for this night, hence the Big Night.
The dish in question is something that I -thought- was called Timpone, but I’ve been unable to find it on any Italian recipe sites! I’ll try to describe it, as best as I can:
When they revealed it in the kitchen before serving it, the chef and his assistant lifted the container away from the dish, so it was sort of turned out, like a jello mold (that was my impression, that is). They mentioned something about letting it rise. It was large and high, it looked like a cake almost. They took it into the dining room to cut into it there. It was sliced like a cake as well, but inside were many layers of different foods! I know I saw sliced eggs in there, but couldn’t really identify what all was in it. Their guests said it was the best they’d ever had. Now I want to know what it was! LOL Does anyone know what this dish is, and how it’s made? Not that I would try to make it, it looked like it might be pretty complicated.
Any help is greatly appreciated. I’m a food afficiando.
There’s a couple different similar recipes, you might want to browse around that site for others. I think that sounds about right though.
Thanks Jimmy, that sure sounds like the recipe! Timpano! LOL that recipe does look intimidating though. Guess I’ll have to find a restaurant that serves it.
I love how the linked recipe calls for:
“2 pounds fresh muscles (you’ll want live ones)”
If you ever do try this recipe, I strongly recommend that you make sure to soak the anchovies in water, changing it several times in the process. Otherwise, the entire dish will taste like one big anchovy.
If you ever get to the San Diego, area, check out the restaurant in Pacific Beach called Lotsa Pasta.
They serve Timpano there. I’ve never had it, but on the menu it specifically references the movie you’ve seen.
There are a few timpano recipes on the web, like the one linked above, but none of them (that I’ve seen) is just like the one used in the movie. There were no mussels or anchovies in the Big Night timpano.
However, Stanley Tucci (the actor who played Segundo) and his mother have written a cookbook which includes the timpano recipe from the movie.
I have the cookbook and have tried the recipe and it is delicious. However, it also takes almost two days to prepare. A pound of stewing beef, a pound of country-style ribs, a couple cans of tomatoes, wine, garlic, onions – and after a few hours, you have the sauce.
Then you’ve got to make the pastry shell, make and cook the meatballs, prepare the pasta, boil the eggs, put everything together, and bake it. Then when it comes out of the oven, you let it sit - not to rise, but to cool, so that it doesn’t fall apart when you cut it.
I highly recommend the book! Lots of other tasty Italian dishes too, several that were also used in the movie.