Truly, the Timpano, Timballo or Timbale as it is sometimes called, is a labor of love. It's one of those utterly spectacular, show-stopping dishes that leaves your guests in awe. Be not mistaken, this is one of those dishes that does take commitment, no getting around it. The individual steps can be many, not necessarily difficult; but the result will be a work of art, loved by all.
I don't often make them, simply for that reason. I pretty much am constantly working. If I'm not functioning as a personal chef for my two very special families, I am teaching cooking classes, catering dinner parties and writing and recipe testing for this blog. I rarely have a random three hours to devote to making one dish (yes, it can take that much time!) and when I do I try to catch up on a little reading.
I guess you're probably wondering why I decided to write about it this week? Generally my posts are about ingredients you find at the farmers market and easy ways to use them. Indeed I did pick up a few things this weekend to use: shallots, leeks and squash. This particular dish became part of pop culture after being prominently featured in the movie Big Night written by Stan Tucci and Campbell Scott. Stan, a wonderful actor and SUNY Purchase grad (like myself), has a new cookbook on the stands. A previous cookbook has the now famous timpano recipe from the movie. If you've never seen the movie, here is a funny clip on You Tube that highlights the dish.
So what exactly is a timpano? It's a baked dish that hails from Italy. The filling and the shell are entirely regional. For instance, the outside layer, that holds all the lovely deliciousness inside, can range from pastry, to rice, to pasta or even a vegetable. The inside can be any creation you can think of but traditionally has a bit of pasta, a sauce and some kind of protein. Given the shape you generally see the layers when it's cut, so the more you have, the more interesting and beautiful it becomes. I presently have four versions under my chef belt to date that I'd like to share with you.
To read more about timpanos and see my step by step recipe click here
Also, just a quick note on my next demo: I will be at the John Jay Farm Market this coming Saturday, October 13th. I'm a little wistful about this one. This is one of my favorite markets. I was honored to be asked to demo at the opening in June, and now to close it for the season. It was also the location of my Throwdown Competition with fellow Small Bites blogger JL Fields. I'll be serving up some tasty small bites (no pun intended!) from 10:30 to Noon, so please stop by, it will surely be a fun send-off to their season!