Timpano Italian Pasta Dome

December 19, 2011

Timpano Italian Pasta Dome is an outrageously delicious Italian pasta dish filled with layers of homemade meatballs, sausage, pasta, cheeses and marinara sauce wrapped up in a delicious butter crust.

Timpano Italian Pasta Dome / https://www.hwcmagazine.com


Have you ever watched the movie, "Big Night"?

If you are a foodie and you have not yet seen it this movie, rent this movie over your holiday break. There is the famous scene from the movie where there is a large gathering in a restaurant. Everyone becomes silent as they bring out out to the main table the huge towering metal bowl on a rolling cart. The bowl lid is removed to reveal the ultimate Timpano Italian Pasta dome. There is a roar of applause and gasping as the staff cut into the master piece revealing the layers of pasta, meatballs, sausage, cheese, eggs and other goodies hidden inside the flaky crust of the dome. The scene ends with everyone in a food coma and crying because the meal was beyond their wildest dreams.

Last scene of the movie big night at the big long table and toast of wine

The Timpano Italian Pasta Dome is an EPIC meal. This recipe is not for the faint of heart and there is no way it can be made in 30 minutes or less. However, it will be a meal that will be talked about for ages to come. One bite and you will be hooked.

Timpano Italian Pasta Dome whole not cut into yet

Imagine a bite of flaky crust and then savory tenter meatballs, sausage and aldente pasta and then all of the cheesy saucy goodness. In addition, the Timapano Italian Pasta Dome is a stunner! We highly recommend that you remove the bowl and cut it right at the table as it is a dramatic presentation.

Timpano Italian Pasta Dome getting cut into at the dinner table

The Timpano Italian Pasta Dome is a meal in itself. However a delicious Dried Cranberry Sugar Glazed Pecan Holiday Salad will take this meal over the top. While your guests are waiting for the big reveal, try our Feta Stuffed Mini Peppers or our Dairy Free Bolognese Polenta Bites 

Timapano With a slice out revealing all of the deliciousness

We have held on to this family tradition of making the Timpano Italian Pasta Dome for the last 25 years. Every year we learn something new while preparing this meal. We have learned more about each other as a family. We have bonded. We cherish the time together.

In addition, we have learned some tricks along the way to simplify the process and helpful hints to make you successful. Please excuse the older photos but each year we spent time with family and not on the photography.

Step by Step photos on how to create the Timpano


  1. Cook your meatballs, Italian sausage, sauces and pasta the day before in advance.
  2. If you are running low on time, you can use jarred pasta sauce. Of course homemade is better but we promise we won't tell a soul.
  3. Depending on the size of your bowl, you most likely will need to double your dough.
  4. In these photos we have shown the process of just making one large rolled out pasta dough sheet. However, this is harder to control. You might wish to make one sheet for the bottom of the bowl and a smaller dough sheet to cover the bottom.
  5. Get the dough as thin as possible without it tearing as you don't want to bite into a huge hunk of dough, keep it thin.
  6. Egg to flour ratio for your dough will depend on the size of your eggs. You may need to add more egg or a little cold water to get your dough to pull together.
  7. Do not get your pasta too saturated with sauce as then it will cause your Timpano Italian Pasta dome to collapse. It is better to serve a little extra sauce on the side.
  8. You will be tempted to cut the pasta dome right away...WRONG! Don't do it. Leave the pasta dome rest under the metal bowl for at least 1/2 hour. Longer is better as it allows the cheeses to hold the dome together.
  9. Between each layer of pasta and meats and cheese, press it down to get out as much air as a possible so it is very compact.
  10. You may need to lay over a sheet of aluminum foil over the flat part of the bowl in the last hour of baking so that the dough does not get too browned.
  11. Allow yourself plenty of time to assemble the Timpano Italian Pasta Dome as it takes longer than you think. Having extra pairs of hands to help you assemble is a very good thing.
  12. Be sure to use a serrated knife or super sharp knife to cut your masterpiece.
  13. Leftovers if you have any rock. You can freeze the rest for a rainy day.
  14. Take lots of instagram photos and be sure to tag us @hwcmagazine or #hwcmagazine. Be sure to follow us on instagram 

We have a family tradition of making this Timpano Italian Pasta Dome together each Christmas and enjoying the holiday spirit. This recipe is quite labour intensive, but it worth every bite. From Healthy World Cuisine Kitchen to yours may your holidays always be happy and bright.





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Timpano Italian Pasta Dome

By HWC Magazine  ,   

December 19, 2011

Timpano Italian Pasta Dome is an outrageously delicious Italian pasta dish filled with layers of homemade meatballs, sausage, pasta, cheeses and marinara sauce wrapped up in a delicious butter crust.

  • Prep: 4 hrs
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yields: 12 servings


Items for the assembly (prepare in advance)

4 cups Basic Tomato Sauce (see attached recipe)

12 -15 cooked Italian meatballs (see attached recipe)

1.25-2.0 pounds (900 grams) Italian sausage cooked and sliced on a diagonal

2 lbs cooked al dente rigatoni pasta

Dough (recipe below)

2 cups (470ml) freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

6 hard-boiled eggs sliced in quarters (optional)

Large metal bowl

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup toasted seasoned breadcrumbs

Basic Tomato Sauce (Makes about 4 cups)- or if low on time can use canned sauce

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced

1 medium peeled onion yellow

12-15 whole cloves to stud the whole onion

2 (28 ounce can crushed tin tomatoes) (My kids dislike chunky tomato sauce so I blend one half of tomatoes in blender before adding to sauce)

6 ounce can of tomato paste

½ (118 ml) cup red wine

1 tablespoon sugar or to taste

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

6 fresh leaves of basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil

Basic Béchamel sauce (Makes about 3 ¼ cups)

5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter

¼ cup (60ml) all-purpose flour

3 cups (710ml) whole milk

2 teaspoons (10ml) salt

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) nutmeg

Italian Meatballs (Makes about 12-15 meatballs)

1/2 pound (226 grams) ground veal

1/2 pound (226 grams) ground pork

1 pound (453 grams) ground beef

1 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 extra-large egg, beaten

¾ cup warm water

Oil spray for baking sheet


2 1/2 cups (600ml) all-purpose flour

6 ounces lard or 6 ounces (170 grams) butter or 6 ounces vegetable shortening

4 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) salt

2 tablespoons (30ml) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) toasted breadcrumbs (4 ounces)

2 tablespoons (30ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon (5ml) ice water


Make Basic Tomato Sauce (if low on time you can buy pre-made jar tomato sauce)

1Place the pointed end of the 12-15 cloves and pierce into peeled whole onion so that you have a studded onion. Next put 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat and then place whole clove studded onion in oil and brown over medium meat for about 5 minutes until the flavors are infused into the oil. Remove whole onion. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute until golden brown. Then add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, sugar, salt, pepper and basil. Turn down the heat to low simmer and cook nice and slow for about and hour. If sauce consistency is too thick then add more wine or water and if sauce is too thin then add more paste to suit your preference. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Make Béchamel Sauce (if low on time you can buy the pre-made jar Béchamel sauce)

1In a medium saucepan, heat the butter until it is melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat until light golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes.

2Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and season with salt and nutmeg.

Make the Italian Meatballs (makes about 12-15 meatballs)

1Preheat oven to 350 F (176 C)

2Place the ground meats, both breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.

3Lightly spray a baking sheet and place meatballs a few inches apart and bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes until no longer pink in center.

4Take meatballs out of oven to rest. Meatballs can be placed in freezer for later use or place meatballs directly into marinara sauce and serve.

Toast breadcrumbs over a medium heat until golden brown. Set aside

Pan fry your Italian sausages. Cool and cut on a diagonal and set aside.

Boil your rigatoni pasta according to the directions. Drain and drizzle with a little olive oil and set aside.

Directions for dough and assembly of Timpano

1To make the dough: Place the flour on a wooden work surface, make a well in the top.

2Cut the butter into ¼-inch pieces and place in the center of the well with the yolks, ½ teaspoon salt, and a teaspoon of ice water.

3Mix well with the tips of your fingers to form a lumpy mass

4Bring together as a dough and knead for 4-5 minutes.

5Wrap in plastic and set aside. (it is very probable that depending on the size of your bowl you may need to double the dough recipe) - We used a

6Preheat oven to 375-degrees F (190 C).

7Roll out dough to a large circle ¼-inch thick.

8Butter the metal bowl and dust thickly with the toasted bread crumbs.

9Line the buttered dish completely with the sheet of dough, with a 1 ½-inch edge overhang.

10Boil 6 quarts (6000ml) of water in a large pasta pot, then add 2 Tablespoons of salt.

11Cook the rigatoni in the boiling water, 3 minutes less than the package instructions state.

12Drain and refresh under cold running water, or an ice bath, until cold, 2-3 minutes.

13Toss with olive oil, and set aside

14Mix half of the cooked rigatoni/ziti with 2 ½ cups tomato sauce and ½ cup of Parmiagiano, and set aside.

15Mix the remaining cooked rigatoni with half of the Béchamel sauce, ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese, and nutmeg.

16Place this béchamel sauced rigatoni/ziti into the bowl, and press lightly.

17Place 1/3 this tomato sauce rigatoni into the bowl and press lightly.

18Sprinkle with some of the grated Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.

19Arrange the meatballs on top in an even layer, and press down again.


21Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.

22Spread the tomato sauced pasta over the meatballs and press down gently. Make sure to press down between each layer to remove the air.

23Add a layer of sliced cooked Italian sausage and if you wish cooked eggs and repeat with a final layer of rigatoni with tomato sauce.

24Fold the extra dough over the whole thing, and press gently to seal.

25Cover the open top with foil and bake for about 2 hours.

26Remove from the oven, remove the foil, and invert onto a large serving platter, without removing the bowl.

27Allow to rest at LEAST 30 minutes, then carefully loosen the pasta around the sides with a knife and knock with your knuckles to release the bowl. The longer rest time the better as it allows the

28cheese to bind the timpano for a clean and neat slice.

29Serve immediately with the remaining shredded Parmesan cheese on the side, cutting the timpano into wedges to serve. Timpano is great dish for a crowd with a side salad. Open a bottle of sparkling grape juice for the kids and a glass of red or bubbly for the adults and have your self a Happy Holiday.


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