While lasagna is a traditional dish from Romagna, Vincisgrassi is traditional from Macerata, in the region of Marche. The tradition goes that this dish was created by adding extra ingredients to the bolognese sauce to impress a German general called Windisch Graetz who was passing through Marche region in 1799. He certainly was impressed and the recipe remains one of the most traditional and delicious Italian pasta dishes.
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 50 g chopped onion
- 50 g chopped carrots
- 50 g chopped celery
- 1 garlic clove
- bay leaves
- 1 glass of dry red wine
- 400 g lean minced beef
- 100 g pork mince
- 50 g chicken livers
- 50 g cock’s comb (optional)
- 50 g chicken giblets
- 500 g peeled tomato
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 250 g egg lasagna sheets
- butter, to grease, plus extra
- 100 g parmesan, crumbled
- 250 g Italian mozzarella cheese, crumbled
- 60 g butter
- 60 g plain flour
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 litre milk, warm
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic. Add the bay leaves and gently fry until the vegetables are golden brown.
Add the beef, pork, liver, cock’s comb and giblets, and cook until it starts to stick to the pan. Add the wine, allowing it to evaporate completely.
Add the tomato, tomato paste and 1 cup of water and simmer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, to make the béchamel sauce, prepare a roux by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and nutmeg. Cook for few minutes. Add the roux to the warm milk, whisking very quickly. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. If too thick, add cold milk and whisk gently.
Blanch the lasagna sheets in boiling water for 5 minutes, strain, then place on a clean cloth to dry.
Grease a 30 cm x 45 cm baking try with the butter. Spread 1 ladle of béchamel on the base and arrange the lasagna sheets to cover the bottom of the tray. Add a layer of bolognese and béchamel (the béchamel should be half the quantity of the bolognese), and sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella. Repeat with remaining ingredients (aim for no more than 4 layers). Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and extra butter.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C (180°C fan-forced) for 30 minutes.
Wines to match: Rosso Conero or Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. Both are from the region of Marche.