Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A pasta makeover

Every once in a while I watch "The Chew" in the afternoons while I'm busy cooking in my own kitchen.   A couple of weeks ago, chef Mario Batali was on the show making a Timapo that looked absolutely fabulous.  Maybe I was especially hungry that afternoon but it looked so good that I logged onto the show website and printed the recipe.  I was shocked to see that how complicated it was because Mario made it look so simple on the show.  (I guess if we all had a behind the scenes staff, we could make it look easy too.) Homemade ragu napoletano, homemade besciamella sauce, polpette alla napoletana in tomato sauce, homemade pie dough - seriously?  Who has that kind of time?

I still loved the concept of a pasta meal baked inside of a mixing bowl and sliced into large pie shaped wedges.  I figured I could modify the recipe to make it a little easier without losing the timpano concept or any of the deliciousness.  (Is that a word?)

This was my first attempt at a Timpano so you will have to bear with me while I bumble my way through this.  I made a batch of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner last week so I incorporated those leftovers into my recipe.  The recipe is very loosely based on Mario Batali's Timpano de Maccheroni.

pie crust (Either homemade or store bought.)
12 meatballs (I made extra meatballs with my spaghetti sauce but you could use store bought also.)
2 cups pasta sauce
2 cups white sauce
2 pounds penne, rigatoni or ziti pasta  (I used 1 pound but it wasn't enough.)
grated pecarino cheese  (You could also use Parmesan.)
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons butter

I started by buttering a 3 quart metal mixing bowl.   I sprinkled seasoned bread crumbs in the buttered bowl. 

Next, I made a pie crust.  (You could make this even easier by purchasing a pie crust.)

Lay the crust into the bowl.  This is by far the hardest part of the whole process.

Cook pasta 3 minutes less than package directions.  

Stir together 1/2 of the pasta with a white pasta sauce.  (You can make your own alfredo or buy your favorite alfredo sauce.)

Spoon pasta into the bottom of the crust.

Arrange a layer of meatballs on top of the white pasta.
Sprinkle with pecerino cheese.  (You can also use Parmesan.)

Stir together the remaining pasta with a red pasta sauce and spoon over meatballs.  (Make your own or use store brands.)
I didn't have quite enough pasta to reach the top of the bowl so I added some leftover pappardelle pasta to the top.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Cover the top with foil and refrigerate until ready to use.  (I kept mine in the frig for 2 days.)  You could also freeze this timpano.  Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes at 350.

Remove foil from timpano and invert onto a serving platter.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Carefully loosen the pasta around the sides with a knife and knock with your knuckles to release the bowl.  Serve immediately with additional cheese.

There's always a little tweeking to do the first couple of times that I make a recipe. I think next time that I make this, I will add a little more red sauce and a little more cheese to the pasta. Instead of ending up with nice neat slices of layered pastas and meatballs, I served up spoonfuls of pasta. I think the cheese and the extra sauce will help bind the pasta together a little better. All in all, I loved the flavor and it's really only the presentation that I have to tweek so I would call this first attempt a success.


1 comment:

  1. "deliciousness. (Is that a word?)" Yep! Sure is. And it pretty much describes your recipe.