the lasagna recipes

The Vincigrassi lasagna from Marche, Italy

lasagna plate

The vincigrassi is a traditional italian lasagna recipe made from an arrangement of different types of offal and lamb meat. This vincigrassi lasagna is the "national dish" of Marche, an italian region located in central Italy. It is said that this funny name derives from the italianisation of the austrian name "Windisch Grätz", as this german name was strange to Italians. Windisch Grätz was the commander of the Austrian troops in Marche in the 19th century, at the onset of the napolean wars period and he loved this lasagna...

Anyways, this is a lasagna recipe that isn't well known and I can tell you by first hand experience that the flavors from this unusual ingredient combination is something any meat lasagna lover should try...

bacon onions vincigrassi lasagna ingredients


The unusual ingredients going into this lasagna: sweetbreads (ris de veau), chicken liver, ground lamb meat and bacon.

* 1 pound dry lasagna pasta

The gravy:
* 1/2 lb. sweetbreads; blanched, skinned and cut into small pieces
* 1 lb. of minced lamb meat
* 1/2 lb. of chicken liver, cut in cubes
* 1/2 lb. bacon, cut in small pieces
* 1/4 lb. of dried mushrooms, soaked in water; reserve the water from soaking the mushrooms
* 1 large carrot, cut into small cubes
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 cup white wine
* 1/2 cup liquid beef broth (not 1/2 cup concentrate...)
* 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* salt, pepper

The Bechamel (white sauce):
* 1 cup milk
* 1 cup 15% cream
* 6 tablespoons white flour
* 5 tablespoons butter
* salt, nutmeg


Step 1 - The pasta

Boil your favorite lasagna pasta in salted water for about 6 minutes; they will still be very al dente but they will finish cooking in the oven with the rest of the lasagna. Slightly spread some oil on a plate and lay flat your half-cooked lasagna pasta strips on it; slightly oil the pasta so that they won't stick to one another or the plate.

Step 2 - The meat sauce

Heat up the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion, the bacon pieces and carrots. Add minced lamb and cook until the lamb is well done. Pour in the tomato paste and mix well. Deglaze with white wine and cook a little bit. Pour in the meat broth, add the soaked mushrooms (dried after soaking, then sliced). Cover and simmer everything for about 30 minutes. Add the chicken liver, veal sweetbreads and 1/2 cup of the water used to soak the mushrooms, then bring to a boil briefly. Adjust seasoning and set aside.

Step 3 - The béchamel sauce

For any Bechamel sauce that will be used in a lasagna, it is recommendable to have a thicker sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add flour and stir; do not allow the butter to brown. First pour in the cream all at once and mix. Pour gradually the milk, stirring constantly always in the same direction. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and season with salt and nutmeg. Reserve, we will need this sauce real soon!

Step 4 - Assembling the lasagna

Preheat the oven at 300° F. Pour a few tablespoons of béchamel sauce in a buttered, very deep lasagna pan and spread evenly. Put a lasagna pasta layer over the béchamel, at the bottom of the pan, pour some gravy and white sauce, then spread evenly. Repeat the layering process twice. Finally, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and add a few knobs of butter here and there over the top layer. Bake in the oven at 300°F for approx. 30 minutes; finish the baking by setting the oven to broil and broiling for a few minutes, keeping a close eye on it. Once the top has a nice golden "au gratin" look pull out of the oven...

Allow your vincigrassi lasagna at least 10 minutes outside the oven to cool it down. Serve...

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