Big Night Timpano

by Kristina Sloggett

in baking,Dinner,recipes

I have been wanting to make this masterpiece for years.

When I first discovered Food ‘n Flix, it was like a tumble of dominoes – I decided to participate, I signed up to host a month, I knew I would pick one of my very favorites – Big Night, and there was no doubt I would take on the timpano.

If you have seen the movie, you know the timpano is to be the main attraction to the evening – they make two of these timpanos, saving one for the guest of honor, Louis Prima!

This was a two day process. The first day I prepared all the sauces, a red, a white and a green, with the thought that I would layer it in the colors of the Italian flag! I also boiled eggs as that was part of the recipe in the movie. Jason made an Italian meatball.

The second day, I cooked the pasta for the filling, prepared a pizza dough for the crust, assembled and cooked.


makes 1 large dome – serves 12-24, depending on serving size

1 large oven proof bowl (I used an 8 quart stainless steel)
2 portions pizza dough (or use fresh pasta)
2 pounds cooked ziti, divided into thirds
1 cup basil pesto
2 cups fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups Alfredo sauce/white sauce
3 hard boiled eggs
2 cups marinara sauce
meatballs (optional, or sub half faux balls as I did – making half vegetarian, half for Jason)

Step by step:

Generously butter inside of large ovenproof bowl.

Roll one large circle using both portions of pizza/pasta dough, or roll two separate circles.

Line buttered bowl with dough, leaving extra dough hanging off bowl or as a second piece to add later.

Combine 1/3 of cooked ziti with basil pesto and spinach – add to the bowl as the first layer.

Combine another 1/3 of cooked ziti with Alfredo sauce, add to bowl as second layer.

Cut hard boiled eggs in half, press into this middle layer, the white layer. 

Combine the final 1/3 cooked ziti with the red sauce, add to bowl as third and final layer.

Add meatballs to this final layer.

Fold over dough/add second circle of dough and seal. 

Here is the visual step by step:

animated gif maker

Preheat oven to 350. Cover with tin foil, bake covered for 45 minutes. Remove tin foil and continue to bake another 45-60 minutes.

*Important! Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour before cutting!*

When ready to remove from bowl, place serving platter/dish on top of bowl and flip over! It should come right out if you followed the other very important step of buttering the bowl VERY well. 

Store remaining portions covered in refrigerator, reheating in oven is preferred (the crust crisps in the oven).

Aside from removing the meatballs from my portion, this was amazing! I am so happy the three distinct colors turned out, and having three different flavors was wonderful! I can share the recipes to any and all of my sauces and the meatball.

I plan on making another one of these as soon as I can – this time I will use pasta dough as the shell/crust, and Jason and I have many ideas for delicious flavor combinations. This really is an easy recipe, it just takes many steps and ideally, a couple of days.

I could not have done this without Jason – he helped roll and stretch the pizza dough, and helped me wrestle it into the bowl and more importantly, keep it there.

The day it was in the oven, I had sent out a tweet, something about “sending up a small prayer and crossing my fingers that the Project In My Oven turns out!” … and almost immediately a friend emailed asking about a bun in the oven!?

…so I had to quickly amend that tweet to say that the project was in the literal oven, and it was indeed food ;)


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