Vincisgrassi is a dish from Le Marche on the east coast of Italy, which, in over simplistic terms, is a lasagne where you replace the beef ragu with mushrooms and air dried ham. There are considerably more complex versions of this dish around, some of which seem to employ a variety of unpalatable and strange ingredients - coxcombs and chicken foetuses for example. (By the way I'm not joking - check out the recipe on about.com). Perhaps understandably, I didn't fancy any of these so stuck to a more conventional ham and mushroom version.
Vincisgrassi is best know to us Brits via a very talented Italian chef called Franco Taruschio, who used to run the Walnut Tree Inn in Abergavenny. Franco was something of a food hero and people still talk of him, and this dish in particular, in hushed and reverential terms. So rather than assume I can do better than the master himself, it is approximately his recipe which I've detailed below, along with a couple of my own very slight modifications.
Anyway, it looks like I've written slightly more than I intended, so without haste, to the recipe...
- 500g fresh mushroooms, roughly sliced
- 60g dried porcini / ceps
- 300g air dried ham (Italian ideally), cut into finger-width strips
- bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- 200g parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 1/2 pints milk
- 60g butter
- 90g flour
- Approx 12 lasagne sheets
- Extra butter for greasing and frying
- Olive oil
- Truffle salt to serve (very optional)