Vincisgrassi is probably the most typical of the many layered pasta dishes of the Marche. It follows the tradition of richly stuffed and filling food, and is full of flavour and very rich in texture. The story goes that it was first prepared by the cook of the Austrian General
To allow the flavours to develop, it is best made the day before you eat it. If you don’t want to make the pasta yourself, you can use bought, fresh pasta squares suitable for making lasagne-type dishes. This dish is a lot of hard work, but well worth the effort if you can manage the time. My mother used always to make it for special family occasions like birthdays.
Make the pasta as usual, using the flour, semolina, unsalted butter, Marsala and eggs. Proceed as you would for normal egg and flour pasta. Roll it out as thinly as possible, and cut it into oblong strips about
If using dried porcini mushrooms, soak them in tepid water for 15 minutes. Drain and chop coarsely.
Add the strips of chicken breast and cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Add the chicken livers, and fry them quickly until they are no longer dark red. Add the Madeira, bring the heat up to evaporate the alcohol for 1 minute, then add the boiling water, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes over a very low heat. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the thick Besciamella.
Butter an ovenproof dish thoroughly, cover the bottom with a layer of pasta, and sprinkle a little Parmesan on top. Then pour some of the chicken filling over the pasta, spread it out evenly and sprinkle with more Parmesan. Cover with another layer of pasta and continue in this way until you end up with a final top layer of pasta. Dot the top with all the remaining butter. Leave the dish to rest for 6 hours, preferably overnight.
The next day, pre-heat the
© 1990 Valentina Harris. All rights reserved.