Vincisgrassi

 

Don’t worry if you don’t recognize the name of this recipe. Nobody really knows what it means, although there are many contrasting origin stories: surely the name is not the Italianization of the surname of the Austrian general Windisch-Graetz (as the oft-repeated story goes), since the recipe was known well before his arrival in Italy in 1799. Traditional vincisgrassi is a type of lasagna enriched with lots of very hearty ingredients, starting from the pasta itself which incorporates marsala wine. Other additions include lots of béchamel sauce, giblets, marrow, brains, truffle and chicken livers. In other words: it has a really unusual taste, but most of all you are not advised to eat such a calorie-rich dish unless you are a marathon runner or a lumberjack. This variation retains the spirit of the original vincisgrassi, but make it more palatable for a modern meal.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 500 g fresh lasagna pasta
  • 350 g chicken giblets
  • 300 g tomato puree
  • 200 ml meat broth
  • 200 g lean pork
  • 200 g lean beef
  • 100 g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 100 g pancetta
  • 1 onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 carrot
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

 

 

Preparation

 

Cut the pancetta into thin sticks and all the meats into small cubes. Finely chop the celery, carrot and onion, then sear them along the pancetta in a pan with oil for about five minutes. Add the pork and the beef cubes, cooking for about 10 minutes until brown. Now add the tomato puree and check the salt and pepper level. This is the time to add the giblets, stir, cover the pan and let it cook for 90 minutes stirring from time to time and adding broth whenever it looks like the mix might stick to the pan. The rest of the recipe is your basic lasagna. Alternately layer the sauce, the pasta and a spoonful of cheese in an oven pan, top with a healthy dose of sauce and cheese, then cook for half an hour in the oven heated at 180 C, making sure to grill the topping to a crisp.