Mushrooms, truffle & prosciutto lasagne
Vincisgrassi (pronounced VEEN-chees-grahs-see) is a typical Marche pasta dish similar to lasagne al forno, considered one of the gastronomic emblems of the Marche cuisine. According to tradition, the Italian name derives from simplification and Italianization of the the last name of the Austrian general Alfred von Windisch-Graetz, who was involved in military actions in the Ancona area in the early 1800s. The general appreciated the dish so much that the population decided to name the dish in his honor. It is not clear, however, if the dish was invented in his honor or if the dish was already known at the time and dedicated to him. Regardless, it's become a true staple of the area. The main difference between vincisgrassi and lasagne lies in the ragù, more specifically in the types of meat it contains. Although there are many variations to the recipe, most vincisgrassi versions include chicken livers, hearts, sweetbreads, pancetta, and sometimes veal, duck and lamb as a replacement for beef. Many versions of this Marche classic opt for mushrooms instead of the customary animal innards. We, personally, prefer the latter. And the richness of the creamy mushroom sauce mixed with prosciutto and truffle oil is a dish fit for a feast and the perfect pairing for this bold 2016 "Folle" Rosso Conero Riserva by La Calcinara.
Total time: 80 minutes
Prep time: 20 minutues
Cooking time: 60 minutes
NOTE: For this recipe we used premade lasagna sheets. However, if you have the time and you're looking to make a more elaborate version we recommend making your own handmade lasagna!
What you'll need:
500ml Chicken stock
2 tbsp Olive oil
30g Dried Porcini
7 tbsp unsalted butter
1 Bay leaf
300g Portobello mushrooms, halved and sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2/3 cup plain flower
500ml whole milk
100ml heavy cream
Handful Italian parsley, chopped
12 Sheets Lasagne
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Truffle oil (optional, but recommended)
1. Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Meanwhile, prepare a heatproof bowl and add the dried porcini mushrooms. Pour over the hot chicken stock and leave to soak until the mushrooms have absorbed the juice and it has cooled, ~15 minutes.
2. Drain the mushrooms over a sieve & bowl, pressing down on them to release all the stock. Reserve the stock for later use! Then, roughly chop the mushrooms and set aside.
3. Prepare the sauce: Heat the olive oil and two-thirds of the butter in a large, shallow saucepan at medium heat.
4. Add the chopped, soaked mushrooms and bay leaf, and sizzle for a few minutes.
5. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the fresh mushrooms and garlic, and fry until soft.
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then scatter the flour over the mushrooms and cook until you have a thick, sticky paste. Then add in the chopped parsley.
7. Pour in the mushroom stock and boil until everything is gloopy. Gradually add the hot milk, stirring between each addition, until you have a thick mushroom sauce, then simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
8. Gradually add the hot milk, stirring between each addition, until you have a thick mushroom sauce, then simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
9. Remove from the heat, fish out the bay leaf, then stir in the cream, prosciutto and parsley, and leave to cool slightly.
10. Preheat the oven to 395 F, and cook the lasagna according to the instructions on the packaging. We recommend cooking only a little over halfway of what it says because you will continue to cook the pasta in the oven and you don't want it to get too soft.
11. Now, prepare the Lasagne: Grease a rectangular casserole dish with the remaining butter and cover the bottom with a layer of lasagne sheets. Using a large spoon, layer about a third of the mushroom mixture and some of the sauce over the lasagne sheets. Then scatter over a some freshly grated Parmesan and drizzle with a few drops of truffle oil.
12. Repeat until you have three layers. On the last layer, make sure you have enough mushroom sauce and it's relatively mushroom free. If not, it's ok. Scatter over an extra generous amount of freshly grated parmesan and drizzle with more truffle oil.
13. Bake the lasagne for 20-25 mins until golden and bubbling. Turn the oven up at the end of cooking, or broil, if it’s not brown enough.
14. Cut into squares, scatter over with more Parmesan shavings and/or drizzle over some more truffle oil just before serving if desired. Garnish with chopped parsley.