(above: a scene from the movie Big Night, where the timpano is revealed)

Happy #pastatuesday! If you haven’t joined us for a #pastatuesday yet, this is our fourth week of sharing pasta tips, dishes, photos, recipes, ideas and more on Twitter, all to do with pasta! To celebrate our fourth week, I’m running a little pasta contest.

I got the contest idea from a movie I watched only fairly recently: Big Night. Many people will be shocked to know that I only learned about the existence of this movie just last year from a family friend, who, after reading this blog, told me I needed to see it. For a really popular movie about Italian food, it isn’t the easiest to find at a decent price. It hasn’t been rereleased since the first VHS copies were sold so getting a copy is pretty steep. I prevailed, watched and was wowed.

Big Night is about two immigrant Italian brothers whose restaurant in New Jersey is failing. In an attempt to save this restaurant, they host an over-the-top dinner with their last bit of money to show a few VIPs the beauty of their food. The brothers stay true to traditional Italian food, refusing to “Amercianize”, and put on a plate-after-plate extravaganza. The meal culminates with the timpano, a pasta dish shaped as a drum. Wrapped in sheets of pasta, the “drum” holds meat, eggs, sauce, pasta and more. Once removed from the oven, the brother tap on the drum/timpano to ensure it is done. It’s a great movie. I had never heard of a timpano!

Shortly after watching it, and just by chance, I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of The Tucci CookBook, by Stanley Tucci, one of Big Night‘s stars and director. This collection of 200 Tucci family recipes is 400 pages of Italian goodness. It offers wine pairing for most recipes, personal stories from Tucci and recipes from simple cold salads to the impressive timpano. One of the things I like the most about this cookbook is that it gives possible variations on the recipes, in true Italian style, as many dishes change from region to region but also from cook to cook. The smallest tweak to a recipe can make the biggest difference and can be someone’s claim to the best pasta dish in town.


Between starting in Big Night and Julie & Julie, it seemed logical for Tucci to come out with a cookbook. Now both his books and movies are inspiring foodies everywhere to give Italian cooking a try. In fact, the movie has inspired many home cooks, and many bloggers, to replicate the complicated timpano dish. See a few examples here, here, here, here, here, here and oh, here. Here’s a pic of the inside of one of these creations (from Westchester Foodie):

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So inspired by Big Night, Tucci’s cookbook, and all the bloggers who have given this crazy pasta dish a try, I’m offering up the first #pastatuesday contest. I’m looking for your most interesting, unique pasta concoction. Timpano or otherwise, what is your unique, strange, best pasta dish?

Here’s how to enter:
Leave a description your best pasta dish/concoction (unique to you!) that you’ve made in the comments of this posting. To get a second entry tweet @italiancdnlife with the same dish and use #pastatuesday in your tweet. You have until the end of next #pastatuesday (midnight, May 28th) to get your entries in!

The prize:
A copy of The Tucci Cookbook, all 400 pages of delicious Italian recipes, including timpano.

The winner will be chosen at random and announced on May 30th.

Let the contest begin, happy #pastatuesday! I’ll be listening….


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