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Many of us have thrown off that comforting blanket of tradition and familiarity to ask the big question: How did turkey—a meat that is easily dried out and often described as “flavorless”—become the pièce de résistance for what is meant to be the most gluttonous culinary event of the holiday season? I’m not saying turkey can’t be delicious if cooked correctly, but it will always taste like turkey, and options are a wonderful thing. Italian American families have an ideal workaround for this seasonal sameness predicament: a pan of lasagna. At their discretion, your guests can eat from it as a side dish or take a heaping main portion. But this year, we’re graduating from lasagna to the pasta entree that is a true show-stopper, at least in Hollywood: Timpano. The creation and unveiling of timpano includes every ingredient necessary for a vivacious Thanksgiving love fest—the teamwork of the prep, the drama of the flip, the oohs and ahhs of the reveal. This is a dish to bond and fawn over. The beauty of timpano is that you don’t have to give up your family’s recipes. The timpano I made includes my Grandma Tootsie’s meatballs and sauce, my Aunt Carmella’s spinach pie, and my Uncle Tony’s pizza rustica. Am I aware of how much that sounds like a casting call for The Sopranos ? Indeed I am. What is timpano? Photo: Sam Palazzi To quote Tony Shalhoub’s character from the 1996 food-fest classic Big Night , “Timpano is a […]