Lasagna is not a regular at my table, but every time I finally decide to make it I never regret it. There’s something lovely and warm and filling about lasagna. From meaty tomato-based traditional recipes to the sausage, autumn squash and sage lasagna I loved so dearly to vegetarian – they all seem to be outstanding.
On my quest to find a new recipe to try, I ran across this simple guideline for lasagna timpano (look how pretty!). Apparently, timpano is the fanciest pasta cake I never heard of but wanted in my oven immediately.
It’s a domed layer cake of Italian deliciousness and not only wrapped, but also stuffed, with pasta. I figured you couldn’t go wrong with that. Here’s a more traditional version of timpano.
However, I’m not traditional. And since I don’t have anyone around who will whack my knuckles with a spoon for screwing up good Italian cooking, I decided to play with my own version of a lasagna/timpano love child. And it had to be rainbow. Because why the hell not.
Enter three pepper lasagna timpano.
Three veggie and cheese filled layers of pretty colors and antioxidants that makes you feel like something full of pasta and cheese is healthy. It even kind of looks like the Italian flag with the red, green and white. Or the red, green, and yellow of, like, a million other flags.
Whatever, the point is that it’s pretty and chock full of fresh flavors. If you don’t like bell pepper, you’ll want to sit this one out because it uses three whole peppers. My mom’s not a huge fan of them, but she thought this was pretty good.
Also, go hog wild when paring the flavors for each layer. I list what I used below, but if you have a yellow curry paste you want to use for the yellow layer, then feel free. If you can find roasted red pepper paste (what’s that called again?) or you have fresh zucchini or you think dill is the bomb – use them! I don’t think there’s a wrong answer.
Baking notes: I undercooked my pasta just a tad too much. You’ll probably want to cook yours just under al dente instead. Also, if you’re afraid of the bottom getting too crunchy, cook it covered in foil to keep in some of the moisture. I’m happy to say that mine didn’t come apart like I feared it would and there was only a single spot where you could see any filling.
I’m so freaking proud of myself. If you could see the smile on my face when I unveiled that baby, it’d make you sick. I was in love.
Also, they make timpano bowls, but any oven safe bowl should work. I used a cheap metal mixing bowl and it came out fine. Who knew?
For cooking the vegetables, I used the same saute pan for all the vegetables because I hate doing dishes and we don’t have a ton of pans. I also really prefer my vegetables to have a little crunch and form even when baked, so my instructions call for sauteing them until mostly cooked but still crunchy. If you like them soft and “meltable”, simply cook them until soft before mixing.
While we have a shortage of pans, I felt absolutely no need to curb my voracious need to use a bucketload of bowls for mixing to keep my colors pristine. I was picky about that, but you don’t have to be. I don’t specify in the directions for that so use your own judgement.
My last note (promise): I taste as I go. I do not fear raw eggs. If you do, then use your best guess on the salt and pepper levels and any other mix-ins you use like the pesto. Or just live dangerously and taste a tiny bit.
And like my last recipe, I put effort into taking pictures so get ready for picture overload.
And now for a little story in pictures.