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5 from 9 votes

Timpano Italian Pasta Dome

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 Time4 hrs
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time6 hrs
Course: Mains
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12
Calories: 1304kcal
Author: HWC Magazine


Items for the assembly (prepare in advance)

  • 4 cups Basic Tomato Sauce
    (see attached recipe)
  • 12-15 Italian meatballs
    cooked (see attached recipe)
  • 1.50 pounds Italian sausage
    cooked and sliced on a diagonal
  • 2 pounds rigatoni pasta
    cooked al dente
  • Dough
    recipe below
  • 2 cups parmigiano-reggiano cheese
    freshly grated
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
    sliced in quarters (optional)
  • Large metal bowl
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
    toasted seasoned

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

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
    extra virgin
  • 4 cloves garlic
    peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 onion
    peeled whole yellow
  • 12-15 whole cloves
    to stud the whole onion
  • 36 oz Canned tomatoes
    (crushed tin tomatoes) (My kids dislike chunky tomato sauce so I blend one half of tomatoes in blender before adding to sauce)
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
    or sugar alternative of choice
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
    to taste
  • 6 leaves basil
    fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil

Basic Béchamel sauce (Makes about 3 ¼ cups)

  • 5 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

Italian Meatballs (Makes about 12-15 meatballs)

  • ½ pound ground veal
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1.25 cups bread crumbs
    dry seasoned
  • 2 tablespoon parsley
    flat leaf fresh, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
    freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    freshly ground
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    dried ground
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup water
  • Oil spray for baking sheet


  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 oz butter or 6 ounces lard or vegetable shortening
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1.5 breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
    extra virgin
  • 1 teaspoon ice water


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

  • Place 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)

  • In 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.
  • Meanwhile, 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) - if low on time can buy pre-made meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 350 F (176 C)
  • Place the ground meats, both breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and ¾ 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.
  • Lightly 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.
  • Take 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

        • To make the dough: Place the flour on a wooden work surface, make a well in the top.
        • Cut 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.
        • Mix well with the tips of your fingers to form a lumpy mass
        • Bring together as a dough and knead for 4-5 minutes.
        • Wrap 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
        • Preheat oven to 375-degrees F (190 C).
        • Roll out dough to a large circle ¼-inch thick.
        • Butter the metal bowl and dust thickly with the toasted bread crumbs.
        • Line the buttered dish completely with the sheet of dough, with a 1 ½-inch edge overhang.
        • Boil 6 quarts (6000ml) of water in a large pasta pot, then add 2 Tablespoons of salt.
        • Cook the rigatoni in the boiling water, 3 minutes less than the package instructions state.
        • Drain and refresh under cold running water, or an ice bath, until cold, 2-3 minutes.
        • Toss with olive oil, and set aside
        • Mix half of the cooked rigatoni/ziti with 2 ½ cups tomato sauce and ½ cup of Parmiagiano, and set aside.
        • Mix the remaining cooked rigatoni with half of the Béchamel sauce, ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese, and nutmeg.
        • Place this béchamel sauced rigatoni/ziti into the bowl, and press lightly.
        • Place ⅓ this tomato sauce rigatoni into the bowl and press lightly.
        • Sprinkle with some of the grated Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
        • Arrange the meatballs on top in an even layer, and press down again.
        • Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
        • Spread the tomato sauced pasta over the meatballs and press down gently. Make sure to press down between each layer to remove the air.
        • Add a layer of sliced cooked Italian sausage and if you wish cooked eggs and repeat with a final layer of rigatoni with tomato sauce.
        • Fold the extra dough over the whole thing, and press gently to seal.
        • Cover the open top with foil and bake for about 2 hours.
        • Remove from the oven, remove the foil, and invert onto a large serving platter, without removing the bowl.
        • Allow 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
        • cheese to bind the timpano for a clean and neat slice.
        • Serve 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.


        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 ½ 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. This recipe can sure feed a large crew at least 12 and there will still be leftovers. You can store your Timpano Italian Pasta Dome covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 months in a freezer safe container. 


        Serving: 1g | Calories: 1304kcal | Carbohydrates: 106g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 73g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Cholesterol: 270mg | Sodium: 2310mg | Potassium: 1154mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1585IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 547mg | Iron: 7mg