D.C.'s Best Timpano, An Italian Dish Rarely Seen In The Nation's Capital

WASHINGTON -- There's a beautiful scene in the 1996 movie "Big Night" that involves the creation of a very special Italian dish called a Timpano.

It's an elaborate baked pasta dish, sometimes called Timballo, that contains meatballs, more pasta and other wonderful things.

The New York Times' "Big Night" Timpano recipe from 1997 is quite complicated, which might be the reason why you don't see it on local menus.

Because the nation's capital never really had much of an established Italian community compared to other East Coast cities, D.C. has never been known for a deep bench of restaurants that specialize in traditional Italian cooking. For years, the best Italian food has been somewhat limited to high-end establishments. So finding a Timpano on a restaurant menu locally is somewhat a diamond in the rough.

But we found one!La Forchetta, a new Wesley Heights Italian restaurant helmed by chef Roberto Donna, has Timpano on its dinner menu. La Forchetta's version has an exterior crispy crust made of macaroni pasta with filling of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, eggs and basil.

While the interior did not look as beautiful as the one in "Big Night," La Forchetta's version was certainly a satisfying dish. We aren't sure how prevalent the dish is on local menus, but we couldn't find it through basic searches. (If you know of others, let us know!)

For good measure, there is Timpano Italian Chophouse in Rockville. Surprisingly, however, there's no Timpano dish listed on its menu.

So if you're craving a filling Italian dish, La Forchetta's Timpano might hit the spot.