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'Big Night' Timballo (timpano) Recipe, Boast and GF Challenge

l
LJS Oct 13, 2010 07:16 AM

Here in Canada, it was Thanksgiving this weekend. We weren't due to do the turkey-ham-scalloped turnip-pumpkin pie-plant garlic-walk in leaves-thing until Monday.

So-o-o what else would do to make Saturdyay and Sunday special? The Big Night Timballo (aka timpani-like a drum) had long intrigued us. Inspired by the movie, we hunted for a recipe that seemed most like the one in the movie and then improvised from there.

Here is the link of the recipe we followed from Chef2Chef...truly, judging from my copy of the Accademia Italiano della Cucina, this is more of a technique than a single recipe and the regional variations are endless.
www.chef2chef.net/recipes/recipe-arch...

We served it both very hot and then re-heated...it is VERY good re-heated,which leads me to believe we should have ignored both recipe instructions and hunger and let it rest far longer than suggested (like maybe an hour) in the first place.

Our variations, according to our family`s tastes included adding broiled porcini mushroom bits to the pea layer. We also added a layer of hard boiled egg slices (4 large eggs), between the white sauce and eggs. We used an existing and excellent ragu that we had in the freezer, but we did thaw, reheat, augment with port and white wine and sieve the meat (pork and beef) from the sauce and add to the pasta.

Thngs we would do differently in future:
1) add herbs, and maybe parmesan to crust...there is a lot of it, we liked the texture, but it is bland.

2) Use a good plain sauce to dress the pasta (and it must be a nice flat past noodle), skip all the meat straining and re-adding, but add a layer of tasty, tiny meatballs which many variations call for anyway

3) The white sauce (doesn`t seem right to call it `bechamel`in Italian dish!) could be spiked with the parmesan or a good pecorino...we are going to diverge from tradition entirely on this one next time and use the sauce from my pastitsio recipe: totally inauthentic but delicious, calling as it does for chicken broth and evaporated milk and cinnamon and parmesan but I wouldn`t make YOU do that!

Now here is the challenge: we loved the Big Moment part of this dish`s presentaion: it comes out of that springform pan like a good little timballo and looks SO glamourous, we REALLY want to do this as a treat for the whole family, as a new pre-Thanksgiving tradition.

But my daughter is celiac, and needs a corn and gluten-free version. We have a great source of rice pasta.What ideas do you have for alternatives to white sauce and that crust-anyone out there experience with recipes for GF timballo or timpani...my La Cucina had nothing useful.

Thanks in advance.

  1. greygarious Oct 13, 2010 08:14 AM

    "Besciamella" = beschamel. Feel better now? For the topping, almond meal or other finely ground nuts, mixed with parmesan. You can thicken the sauce with potato starch or rice flour - if that isn't readily available, instant mashed potato or rice baby cereal (you'd need to check the label for gluten - I have no idea).

    2 Replies
    1. re: greygarious
      l
      LJS Oct 14, 2010 09:56 AM

      Bless you,greygarious: besciamella, it is!

      I think that topping would work out well. I had forgotten about potato starch...I do keep potato "flour" on hand for making GF bread and that will serve the purpose. A friend has suggested using leftover risotto (there's a concept!) , augmented with beaten egg and formed into a crust for the bottome and side...by Giorgio, I think we've got it!

      1. re: greygarious
        mbfant Oct 15, 2010 01:34 AM

        And a footnote on the nomenclature: Artusi coined balsamella as an Italian equivalent, but it didn’t stick. Besciamella, practically a phonetic transcription of the French béchamel, is indeed the normal Italian term.

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