Vincigrassi is one of the oldest and most famous recipes in the areas of Ancona, in the Marche region. It was prepared for the first time in honor of the Austrian general who saved the city of Ancona from the Napoleonic troops in 1799. From then on it spread like wildfire and became one of the most popular typical local dishes. Each family jealously keeps a recipe of its own. In each self-respecting Marche region it is prepared in a different variant, since the basic recipe leaves ample freedom in the selection and dosage of the main ingredients, including the type of meat used.
Italy is a country that makes food and wine culture one of its greatest strengths. The regional cuisine is so varied as to make it difficult to identify a unique style that unites the entire peninsula. There is everything from meat and game dishes from the inland areas to the rich fish dishes of the coastal areas. Fried food, cheeses, pickles and D.O.P. cured meat are instead typical of some regions and localities, still very much tied to the rural “homemade” mentality . The Vincigrassi Marchigiani recipe is one of the most famous in the area of Ancona and nearby towns.
Consider that it is an extremely famous dish in the Marche, very similar to the much appreciated (worldwide) lasagne alla bolognese. Vincigrassi is also prepared with fresh egg pasta in sheets, but in this case the sheets are not used whole but instead are coarsely broken into squares and arranged in a less orderly manner. Ragù sauce and béchamel sauce are then added to the egg pasta. Even the sauce is very different from that of lasagna because of the type of meat used and the preparation. But what are the origins of the dish? Let’s find out together and try to prepare it.
Vincigrassi: the origins of the dish
It is said that the Vincigrassi recipe was created in honor of the Austrian general Windisch Graetz, following his important contribution to the city of Ancona which, thanks to his strategies, was well defended against the Napoleonic troops, back in 1799. From there on the Vincigrassi recipe has been updated and revisited by all the local families: each has its own “favorite” variant, a bit like apple pie and other typical Italian recipes which can have a varied preparation. Some add a béchamel sauce, others prepare homemade pasta sheets enriched with cooked wine, others add pieces of offal to the ragù sauce.
Vincigrassi alla marchigiana: the recipe
The recipe for Vincigrassi alla marchigiana that we are going to propose is absolutely the easiest: egg pasta alternated with béchamel and layers of meat sauce prepared especially for this dish, with a good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top and a long baking time . No doses for the meat, just add as much as you like!
- 1 pack of egg lasagna (500g)
- 1lt of tomato sauce
- An onion, a celery stalk and a minced carrot
- Chicken giblets
- Chicken breast
- Bacon (no more than 100 grams)
- A glass of good quality white wine
- 200ml of béchamel sauce
- Parmesan, butter and extra virgin olive oil to taste for the finishing touch
How to prepare Vincigrassi
To prepare Vincigrassi alla Marchigiana, start cooking the lasagne broken into 4/5 pieces in plenty of salted water, draining it when it is still very “al dente”. Prepare the sauce separately. Make a sauté with chopped vegetables and plenty of extra virgin olive oil and, once browned, add the minced meat. The chicken giblets must be carefully cleaned and the livers will be chopped, as well as the chicken breast. Once the meats and vegetables have cooked just enough to flavor each other, blend with the white wine and let it evaporate at a very high flame. Then add the tomato sauce and cook over a low heat for at least 3 hours. Once the sauce is ready, alternate a layer of lasagne with a large helping of sauce in a dish until all the ingredients are finished. As a last layer, finish with an abundant helping of béchamel sauce, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top and a few small pieces of butter. Bake at 180 degrees for at least 35-40 minutes.