Is this laborious, old-school Italian showstopper just a fat, kinky lasagna? Or is there something more, good enough to make stage and film actor Ian Holm want to kill you?


Meatball Ingredients 

  • 1 pound ground chuck

  • 1/2 pound ground short rib

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 1 pound ground veal

  • 3 ounces torn Italian bread

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, plus more as needed

  • 1 medium onion, minced

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 4 ounces parmesan cheese, grated

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, minced

  • 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt

  • 1/4 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 ounces fatty pancetta, finely minced

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced oregano

  • 1/2 cup homemade veal demi-glace (or chicken stock with 4 packets unflavored gelatin)

  • 3 Tbsp leaf lard

Method: Meatballs

  1. (Optional, if using whole pieces of meat) Cut meat into 1-inch cubes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze for about 15 minutes or until meat is firm around the edges. Place in a food processor with a chilled blade, and pulse in batches until meat is pebbly-ground.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine bread with buttermilk, tossing to coat. Let stand, tossing occasionally, until bread is completely moist (about 10 minutes). Squeeze bread between your fingers or mash with a spoon to make sure there are no dry spots; if there are dry spots that refuse to moisten, add more buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time until bread is moist throughout.

  3. Add onion, garlic, parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper, pancetta, egg yolks, oregano, and demi-glace to bread/buttermilk mixture.

  4. Set mixer bowl in stand mixer and attach paddle. Starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, beat bread mixture until thoroughly blended, stopping to scrape down sides as necessary. Add 1/3 each of the beef, pork, and veal and beat at medium-high speed until thoroughly blended with bread mixture.

  5. Remove bowl from stand mixer and add remaining beef, pork, and veal. Gently mix meatball mixture by hand, tearing apart ground meat with your fingers, just until ground meats are thoroughly distributed throughout; avoid mixing any more than is necessary for even distribution. 

  6. Heat 3 tablespoons leaf lard in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, and sear meatballs on all sides before adding to sauce during its final hour of cooking.


Garganelli Ingredients

  •  10 ounces tipo 00 flour (or all-purpose), plus more for dusting

  • 2 large eggs plus 4 egg yolks

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Method: Garganelli

  1. On a wood surface or baking mat, form the flour into a mound with a well in the center large enough to contain the eggs.  Pour the eggs and salt into the well and beat with a fork, slowly adding more and more flour, until a thick slurry is formed.  Begin working in flour with your hands, forming a shaggy dough.  Knead for five minutes before wrapping in plastic wrap and allowing to rest for thirty minutes.

  2. Divide the dough into six equally-sized pieces using a bench scraper.  Keeping the remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap, roll into a rectangular shape on a well-floured surface one at a time, until they are thin enough to see the outline of your hand through the dough.  Using a pizza or pasta cutter, cut the edges off the rolled-out dough to form a rectangle.  Cut the rectangle into 2-inch squares, wrap diagonally around a small wooden dowel, and press against a gnocchi stripper to form garganelli.  Place spaced apart on a floured, towel-lined baking sheet - if desired, allow to dry out overnight before preparing the Timpano.


Timpano Ingredients

  • 15 ounces tipo 00 flour

  • 2 whole eggs plus 6 egg yolks

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 2 tsp kosher salt

  • 2 Tbsp butter

  • 1 pound genoa salami, sliced into 1/2” rounds

  • 1/2 pound grated aged provolone

  • 1 pound low-moisture mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half

  • 1 recipe Italian red sauce (see Prison Sauce)

  • 24 meatballs (see above)

  • 1 recipe garganelli (see above), par boiled until very al dente, tossed with enough sauce to prevent sticking

  • Whole nutmeg

Method: Timpano

Makes 12 servings

  1. Begin by pouring the flour onto a wood surface or baking mat, forming a large well in the center, and pouring the eggs, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and kosher salt into it.  Beat with a fork until a thick slurry forms, and using a bench scraper or your hands, form a shaggy dough.  Knead for five minutes or until smooth and not tacky.  Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Coat the interior of a 5-quart enameled dutch oven with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Unwrap dough, dust with flour, and on a well-floured work surface, begin rolling out into one large disc.  Flour as necessary, and roll out until 1/8-inch thick.  Roll around rolling pin, and unroll into the dutch oven, pressing down into the corners, making sure there is still 8-inch or more hanging outside the dutch oven.

  3. Start filling the Timpano with a layer of cooked pasta (about 1/4 of the recipe) and a small amount of sauce.  Begin forming layers using 1/4 of each of the fillings: eggs, then meatballs, cheeses, and salami.  Repeat until the Timpano is filled to the brim.  Finish with an extra layer of aged provolone to help prevent the ingredients from leaking later on, after the Timpano is flipped.  Fold the excess dough up from the sides and press down on top, sealing shut.  For a softer crust, cover the dutch oven and bake for about 2 hours, until internal temperature registers at least 125°F, and exterior is golden brown.  For a crispier crust, bake uncovered.

  4. Allow Timpano to rest for one hour before placing a large cutting board or plate over top of the dutch oven, and inverting the Timpano onto it.  Cut into slices, and serve atop a pool of warm sauce, grating fresh nutmeg over top.