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The day I cooked timpano with Stanley Tucci

The giant Italian pie was the centrepiece of the star’s Big Night film. Now he’s invited me round to his house to make it• Now try cooking Tucci’s timpano yourselfGetting your homework marked by Stanley Tucci is terrifying. Not because he is scary. On the contrary. He has impeccable, courtly manners. It’s terrifying because of what is at stake. I prise off the lid to the plastic box and turn its contents towards him, shyly. Tucci plucks a single chilled meatball from the one kilo throng, each the size of a large marble, and pops it into his mouth. He nods slowly, then smiles. “Perfetto,” he says, simply. Thank Christ for that. The meatballs, made to his own detailed recipe, are a key part of a grandiose cooking adventure we are embarking upon today, here in his kitchen. They need to be right.In 1996, Tucci introduced the world to one of his family’s great culinary traditions, courtesy of the movie Big Night, which he starred in, co-wrote and co-directed. In the film, set in 1950s America, Tucci plays a recent Italian immigrant who, along with his chef brother, runs a struggling Italian restaurant on the shore not far from New York City. To raise its profile, they decide to stage a special dinner which, they have been told, will be attended by the great American-Italian singing star Louis Prima. The centrepiece of this magnificent, delirious feast will be a timpano. Continue reading…