FOR THE PASTA:
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
FOR THE MEATBALLS:
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1 cup fine bread crumbs
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, minced
- 1 medium rib celery, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons chicken broth or white wine
- 2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, passed through the medium disk of a food mill to remove seeds
- 1/2 cup shredded fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
FOR THE TIMPANO:
- 1/2 pound penne or other short-shaped pasta, cooked al dente, drained and reserved
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 hard-boiled eggs, cut in quarters
- 1 pound mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami
- To make the pasta, mix the flour and the salt together, then stir the salted flour with the eggs and the oil. Continue to stir until the dough comes together in a ball. On a floured work surface, knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until silky smooth. Wrap with plastic and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
- Combine all the meatball ingredients. Roll into about 65 balls, using 1 tablespoon of meat for each. In a large nonstick frying pan, cook as many meatballs as will fit in 1 layer over medium heat, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes. Repeat if necessary. Set aside in a bowl at room temperature.
- In the same pan used to make the meatballs and utilizing the fat left in the pan, cook the onion, carrot, celery and garlic over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Dissolve the tomato paste in the stock or wine and stir into the vegetables. Cook the mixture for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and basil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- To make the timpano, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the penne with 2 cups of the sauce. Roll out the pasta on a lightly floured surface to make a 26-inch round. Grease a 3-quart stainless- steel bowl with 2 tablespoons of oil and gently mold the pasta sheet to the contours of the bowl; there should be enough hanging over the edge to fold over and cover the filling.
- Spoon 1 cup of penne into the bowl. Top with 1/2 cup of the sauce, 12 pieces of egg, half of the meatballs and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat the process, this time using 3 cups of penne, 1 1/2 cups of sauce, the remaining eggs, meatballs and cheese. Top with the remaining penne and sauce. Create a final layer with the salami. Fold the pasta over the filling and brush with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Bake the timpano for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 45 more minutes. To check if it’s done make a small hole at the top using a knife blade. If steam comes out and the cheese is melted, it’s done. Otherwise, bake for 10 to 15 more minutes. To serve, remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Carefully turn upside down onto a large platter.
YIELD 6 to 8 servings