Everyone has a food goal. A quest. A grail, if you will. That thing that you want to make that you feel that you don't have the skills to do. David calls it "slaying the food dragon."
For lovers of Italian food (me) and movies (me again), that food dragon is the timpano, the dome-shaped pasta baked in a ceramic basin and filled with layers of pasta, ragu, meatballs, chunks of cheese and salami and hard-boiled eggs that features in the long dinner party scene at the center of the terrific movie Big Night. If you love food--and if you're reading this I have to assume that you do--then you owe it to yourself to see this movie about two Italian brothers trying and failing to run a restaurant serving traditional food in 1950s New Jersey.
Ever since I first saw this movie in 1997, I have wanted to make the legendary timpano. For my birthday this year, David bought me a pan that he asserted was for us to finally make it. Six weeks passed, and this past weekend we were planning a big cast and crew dinner for Inspecting Carol on Sunday night. During the week I said, "why don't we make the timpano?"
We hemmed and hawed and looked at recipes. There's no doubt that it is a lot of work. You make a pasta dough for the shell, the ragu and meatballs for the filling. Lots of cutting and slicing and precision work. But in the end, we just went for it.
|These were adapted from a recipe by Lidia Bastianich, and they were the bomb. More on them to come.|
Revelation: it's not that hard.
Yes, it's a lot of work, and I will keep tweaking the recipe before I blog about making this. The ragu wasn't quite right, and the dough for the shell needed to be thinner. For those who are curious about what it entails, I found this one on the internet. The one we used is a little different, and more closely approximates the one in the movie, which is an adaptation of actor Stanley Tucci's family recipe.
I did love the meatball recipe I used and adapted, which I will blog about separately this week. In the interim, what I'd love to know is this: what is your food grail? I look forward to hearing!