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I vincigrassi di Marche

This elaborate lasagna recipe is an authentic meal typical of Marche (pronounced markay), Italy. The true origin of the name of this meal is disputed; one theory is one that goes back to a certain Austrian general named Windisch Graetz who in 1789 was stationed with his troops at Ancona in Marche, the chef who, after much time in Italy, became known as Vincenzo Grassi. In any case the resulting meal is delicious!



lasagna pan


Ingredients:

1 lb. dry Lasagne pasta

For the sauce:
3/4 lb. ground beef meat,
1 and 1/2 lb. lean stew beef and pork (some also add lamb and chicken)
an italian sausage or a few slices of pancetta well chopped in any case
1 lb. chicken giblets, chicken liver
nervetti (italian preparation of pickled veal tendons; only if you can find it)
1 can tomato paste,
2 cups thick tomato sauce
2 onions, 1 celery, 1 carrot
1 glass of white wine,
marjoram
salt and pepper
olive oil and a knob of butter

For the béchamel sauce:
milk, flour, butter, salt and nutmeg.

and let's not forget the grated parmesan cheese, in large quantities.

Cooking instructions:

Prepare the meat sauce the day before (it needs to Simmer for at least 3 hours) as follows:

In a large saucepan pour a bit of oil and butter, a chopped onion, the well crumbled sausage or pancetta and fry everything, when the onion is golden add the ground meat and let the sauce continue. When the meat is well browned add the stew, the giblets (well cleaned and chopped) and all meats. Continue to fry, if you feel that the meat starts to stick, do not worry, mix and pour a little bit of white wine. Chop finely the onion, celery and carrot and add to pan. Stir and add the wine you have left. Dilute the tomato paste with water and pour in pan, add cloves, marjoram, salt and pepper. Let boil again and add the nervetti. So that the sauce reaches the consistency and quantity, you need to dose with water; as a rule there must be three fingers of liquid to cover your meat. Add the tomato sauce. Now the sauce is simmering gently and long and then lower the heat and leave in peace. But Check occasionally and stir, if the liquid is consumed too add a bit 'of water. The sauce is ready when the oil forms on the surface of red / brown sauce of small lakes. Now, if you like, you can taste it, just to make sure that salt is good, dipping a piece of bread. The flavor should be a perfect balance of all ingredients. Let stand overnight, this is important so the flavors mix.

The next day, start by preparing the white béchamel sauce, of which you will need about 5 cups of. You can find the recipe for béchamel here.
Cook your pasta in boiling salted water (for about 5 minutes up until they are almost ready) and then using a slotted spoon dip them into a bowl filled with cold water then spread them out on a slightly oiled up plate so they won't stick to one another. Take the highest wall lasagna baking pan you have; this recipe is like a thick lasagna. Spread a layer of sauce at the bottom over this a layer of lasagna, then more tomato sauce, some white béchamel sauce, sprinkle grated Parmesan and a new layer of pasta, and so on to finish with the bechamel and parmesan on top. A small trick: using a sharp knife, pierce in several places from top to bottom, the surface of vincisgrassi; this way the sauce will be distributed better. Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. Bake until you get a nice crispy crust.

What to do with the leftover meat stew with tomato sauce, now? An interesting idea would be to add to it a bit of water, bring to a boil and then put in some spinach; this becomes a nice side dish. The vincisgrassi being mainly served on special occasions it makes sense to provide a more elaborate menu; so this tomato, meat and spinach sauce becomes a nice addition to this meal.

Serves 8 to 10

Buon Appetito!