You’ve all seen Big Night, yes? The film about two brothers trying to keep their restaurant afloat that featured the divine Ms. Rosselini? If you haven’t, you must. For those in the know, remember the timpano? It’s a high-maintenance, hulking mass of pasta, sauce, meatballs, salami and boiled eggs encased in pasta dough. I helped make and eat one a few weeks ago during a visit to Columbus.

After Jeff and I announced our engagement, my mom had the idea that a timpano should be made for the occasion. There were some logistical issues though. Namely, how to do it in my kitchen that sorely lacks counter space and how to make it happen so the very small wedding party could eat it after the ceremony. Needless to say, it wasn’t feasible and we opted to commemorate my mom’s 61st birthday with its presence instead. It was a wise decision since it took four people and four hours to make.

Since we’re a rather meta group, we talked about the history of timpano during the process. Where did it come from? Is it a cinematic reality? Is it one of those seriously arcane items of Italian festival cooking that dropped off the face of common knowledge as immigrated families became more “Americanized?” All we knew is that we saw it in Big Night and have wondered what it would be like ever since.

As you can see, it was delicious. Mom served it with a cucumber salad, foccacia and, of course, my dad’s wine. Cake by Maggie’s Creations followed.

Filling the timpano

What was left after 6 people ate as much as possible