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Timpano

Timpano means "drum" in Italian, but this is one you'll want to eat again and again and again!

Serve your individual timpano on a puddle of tomato sauce. But be sure to add that sauce after you turn the timpano on the plate!

If you’ve seen the movie "Big Night" then you know all about timpano, a pastry lined drum—timpano means "drum" in Italian—filled with pasta, meatballs, sauce, eggs, cheese . . . virtually anything goes. It is the most wonderful way to use up leftovers. I like to wrap my timpano in grilled zucchini or eggplant simply because it seems slightly less decadent, but if the calories don’t deter you, the pastry version is delectable, too, of course!



“A large timpano is the traditional size, but I just love making individual timpano, served on a puddle of fresh tomato sauce, topped with basil. I have oven-proof bowls that make perfect portions for easy make-ahead entertaining. But this is easily done in any size ramekin. ”


Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; large mixing bowl; rubber spatula or large spoon; (6) 6-8 oz. ramekins; sheet pan; cooling rack

Ingredients:

8 zucchini, sliced lengthwise and grilled

½ pound cooked pasta, such as penne rigate, macaroni, or cavatappi

1 cup tomato sauce

1 cup diced meatballs

1 cup chopped mozzarella or mozzarella pearls

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

(hard boiled eggs, quartered)

(chopped basil)


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.


2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, sauce, meatballs, and cheeses. Combine well and set aside.

“In the summer, use fresh corn and ricotta cheese with basil, mint, grape tomatoes, and pesto. In the fall, try some sausages and olives with sundried tomatoes. Swap the zucchini for eggplant, pastry, or even sliced ham. There isn't anything you cannot add to a timpano. Make the recipe your own!”

3. Prepare the ramekins. Place 6-7 slices of zucchini in each ramekin to overlap so that no part of the ramekin in exposed. Fill with the pasta mixture, fold the zucchini over the top to cover the filling. Place the ramekins on a rimmed sheet pan and bake them uncovered in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the filling has set.



4. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and remove the ramekins to a cooling rack. Let them rest for 5-10 minutes. Place a plate on top of each ramekin: press down on the plate with one hand, and hold the ramekin with an oven mitt using the other hand. Turn the plate and ramekin over together and gently lift the ramekin off to expose the drum, perhaps with assistance of a soup spoon. Serve immediately.


Makes 6 servings.



"A timpano made with the ends of the zucchini (or eggplant) does not hold together well like one made with the middle slices with the same texture on both sides because those ends are simply too thick and dry to become one with the pasta-sauce-cheese mixture. Cooking is trying and experimenting and occasionally failing. But accepting this and going for it will make you a better, happier cook...and a successful one! It's about technique, not torture!”




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