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Making Timpano

Mini Timpano

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This recipe for individual timpano will make your dinner party unforgettable. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 5 mins
Resting 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Author Diane Brown


For the dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup water

For the meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 cups day-old bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 3/4 lb lean ground beef¼ cup finely chopped onion

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 28- oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

For the timpano:

  • 8 oz fusili or ziti pasta cooked to very firm al dente and drained
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 15-oz container whole milk ricotta
  • 2 cup hard-cooked eggs cut into ½ -inch cubes1fresh mozzarella, cut into ½ -inch cubes


Make dough:

  • Place the flour, eggs, salt, and olive oil in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. (A large capacity food processor may also be used.)
  • Add 3 tablespoons of the water and process.
  • Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together and forms a ball.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead to make sure it is well mixed. Divide into 8 equal portions and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Flatten each dough portion out on a lightly floured work surface: Dust the top with flour and roll it out, dusting with flour and flipping the dough over from time to time, until it is about 1/16 inch thick and is approximately 8-inches in diameter.
  • Spray 8 compartments of a 4-inch muffin pan (designed for jumbo muffins) with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Line each muffin compartment with dough, gently pressing it against the bottom and the sides, draping the extra dough over the sides. Set aside.

Make meatballs:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Tear the bread into 1-inch pieces and place in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Pour 2 tablespoons milk over the bread and let stand for 10 minutes for bread to absorb milk.
  • Squeeze bread with your fingers; if it feels dry, add another tablespoon of milk.
  • In a separate bowl, combine egg whites, grated cheese, parsley, salt, garlic powder and pepper.
  • Add ground beef, onions and egg mixture to the bowl with the bread. Mix ingredients well with hands but don't over-mix, as this will create dry, tough meatballs.
  • Dip your hands in a bowl of cold water to prevent sticking. Portion the meatball mixture into 24 walnut-size balls. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake in oven for 7-10 minutes, until firm.

Make sauce:

  • Heat a heavy 6-quart pot over medium heat.
  • Add olive oil and heat to a shimmer. Add onions and sauté until they become translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add garlic and oregano, sautéing for 1 minute and stirring often.
  • Add pureed tomatoes, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes, until thickened. Stir in parsley.

Assemble the timpanos:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Stir 1 cup of sauce together with strained pasta and 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese until pasta is coated.
  • Place ½-ounce of pasta in the bottom of each muffin compartment.
  • Spread a scant ounce of ricotta cheese on top of the pasta, and 3 meatballs on top of the ricotta.
  • Fill in the spaces with cooked egg and mozzarella, evenly distributed into each muffin compartment. Press down to compact.
  • Spoon in a generous tablespoon of tomato sauce over the mixture and sprinkle each muffin tin with a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover with the remaining pasta and press again to compact the ingredients. Fold remaining dough over the top, trimming away any excess or double fold.
  • Put muffin pan in oven and bake until timpano dough is golden brown on top, for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Transfer muffin pan to a cooling rack and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Invert muffin pan on to the cooling rack and release the timpanos from the pan.
  • Cut each timpano in half and open slightly to show layers.
  • Serve on a plate upright with remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.