Tucci's Timpano

Recipe quantities adjusted from original to fit 6-quart vessel

For the dough

3½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup water

Butter and olive oil to grease pan

The dough-lined pot. Courtesy of Penny Kazmier

For the filling:

1½ to 2 pounds ziti, cooked very al dente (about half the time recommended on the package), drained

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 to 5 quarts of your favorite pasta sauce, meat or marinara, or 2 recipes Tucci Family Ragu (see separate recipe)

1 pound Genoa salami, cut into ¼- by-½-inch cubes, or slices cut into ½-inch pieces

1 pound sharp provolone cheese, cut into ¼- by-½-inch cubes, or slices cut into ½-inch pieces

6 hard-boiled eggs, shelled, quartered lengthwise, and each quarter cut in half

¾- to 1-inch meatballs made from 1 pound ground meat (your favorite recipe or Tucci's) see separate recipe)

2 ounces finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese

3 large eggs, beaten

6 quart oven-safe cooking vessel (I used an enamel-clad cast iron pot)

A layer of salami goes on top of the sausage for Tucci's Timpano. Courtesy of Penny Kazmier

Allow ingredients to come to room temperature before assembling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dough and pan preparation:

Place the flour, eggs, salt and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. (A large-capacity food processor may also be used.) Add 3 tablespoons of water and mix. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together and forms a ball.

This can also be done by hand: mix the flour and salt together on a clean, dry work surface or pastry board. Form the dry ingredients into a mound and then make a well in the center. Break the eggs into the center of the well and beat them lightly with a fork. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the water. Use the fork to gradually incorporate some of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Continue mixing the dry ingredients into the eggs, adding the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead until combined and smooth dry dough, adding small amounts of flour, if needed. Set aside to rest 5 minutes.

Flatten the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour and roll it out, dusting with flour and flipping the dough over from time to time to keep it from sticking to the board, until it is very thin (approximately 1/16-inch thick) and large enough to encase the contents of your full cooking vessel.

Grease the timpano baking pan very generously with butter and olive oil so that it is well lubricated. Fold the rolled dough in half and then in half again to form a triangle and place it in the pan. Unfold the dough and arrange it in the pan, gently pressing it against the bottom and the side and draping the extra dough over the side. Set aside.

Meatballs and eggs are one layer in Tucci's Timpano. Courtesy of Penny Kazmier

For the Filling:

Toss drained pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil, cool slightly, toss with 2 to 3 cups pasta sauce. (Pasta should have a thin coat of sauce, but not too much.)

Gently layer ingredients into lined vessel in the following order:

One half of the prepared pasta

Half of the salami

Half of the provolone

Half of the hard-boiled eggs

Half of the meatballs

Half of the Romano cheese

1 quart pasta sauce

A ragu layer in Tucci's Timpano. Courtesy of Penny Kazmier

Repeat layers one more time, or until within ¼ inch from top of pan, ending with sauce. (Make sure your last layer is sauce.) Pour beaten eggs over the filling. Fold dough over the filling to seal completely, trimming away excess dough, but making sure the Timpano is tightly sealed. If you notice any small openings, use extra dough to "patch," using a small amount of water to moisten scraps together.

Encasing the filling with the overhanging dough. Courtesy of Penny Kazmier

Bake on lowest rack in preheated oven for 1 hour uncovered. After 1 hour, cover with aluminum foil and continue baking until internal temperature reaches 120 degrees, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to rest 30 minutes before attempting to remove from pan. (The baked Timpani should not adhere to the baking pan. It should spin slightly in pan. If any part is attached, carefully loosen with a knife.)

A sealed up Timpano ready for the oven. Courtesy of Penny Kazmier

To remove from pan, place a large baking sheet or cutting board that is large enough to cover the entire diameter of the baking dish on top of the Timpano. Carefully grasp rim of the baking dish and board firmly and invert. Remove the pan, allowing the Timpano to cool 30 minutes more. (Resist the urge to cut into this too soon, as it will not hold together properly if you do.)

Tucci's Timpano right out of the oven. Courtesy of Penny Kazmier

Using a long sharp knife, cut a circle approximately 3 inches in diameter in the center of the Timpano, making sure to cut all the way through to the bottom, then slice as you would a pie, leaving the center circle as a support for the remaining pieces. The pieces should hold together, revealing the built-up layers of great stuff.

Serves 12-16 hungry people

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