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Old 03-11-2012, 08:55 AM   #1
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Vincisgrassi: Lasagne with Chicken Rag¨

The mountainuous rural Umbria Marches ( north east ) region of Italia has a lovely Adriatic coastline and a mountainous terrain which has developed a taste for thick soups, beans, lentils and farro or spelt, a strain of wheat that has survived since Roman times. Furthermore, the province is rich is cheeses, dried fruits, salumi deli cold meat, fruity olive oils, focaccia style breads, Adriatic fish, wildboar sausage and lasagnas with both bechamel or white sauce and Rag¨, a tomato and meat or chicken sauce.

This recipe hails from my Grandmother Margherite.

Vincigrassi - Lasagna with Chicken Rag¨ :
( serves 6 to 8 and works wonders for leftover lunches on a Monday)

Bechamel or white sauce:
1 bay leaf
1 small onion
2 cups heavy cream
freshly ground nutmeg
salt and blk pepper freshly grounded
3/4 cup freshly grated imported Reggiano Parmesano ( 3 ounces )

*** Lasagna sheets ( Barilla ) or one can make their own with 1/3 cup Marsala dry or Vin Santo added to the all purpose and semolina flours blended.

Rag¨:
3 tblsps olive oil extra virgin
2/3 cup minced onion
6 ounces fresh mushrooms chopped
4 ounces sweet Italian sausages with casings removed
2 oz. pancetta chopped finely ( or one can employ bacon )
1/2 cup minced celery
1/3 cup minced peeled carrot
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch pieces
( I only use breast, however, one can use thigh meat too )
1 Bay leaf
1 cup dry Marsala wine ( available at Italian DelÝs and Wine shops )
1 large garlic clove ( In Italia, less garlic is used than in the USA )
14 1/2 oz. vine ripe red tomatoes ( can use Italian canned ) peeled, de-seeded, drained and crushed
1 cup chicken stock ( I use homemade )
3 pinches of ground cloves
1 tbslp tomato paste
6 oz. chicken livers ( or turkey livers ) diced
a shot glass of Milk

1) Heat 2 tblsps of olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium high heat
2) add onion, mushrooms, sausage, pancetta, celery and carrot and sautÚ until onion is pale gold, 5 to 6 minutes
3) add chicken, bay leaf, and garlic and continue to sautÚ until chicken begins to go golden, stirring often, about 8 minutes
4) add all but 2 tblsps of Marsala and the shot glass of milk and bring to boil
5) scrape up brown bits and reduce heat and simmer until you have very little liquid stirring occasionally 10 minutes
6) transfer mixture to heavy 4 quart saucepan
7) add tomatoes, stock, tomato paste and cloves
8) simmer until moist, NOT soupy, stirring often - about 35 to 40 minutes
9) heat remaining 1 tblsp olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat
10) add livers and sautÚ until just tender firm
11) add remaining 2 tblsps of Marsala and bring to simmer
12) mix livers into the Rag˙

The Cream Sauce:
Cook the first 3 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by 1/3. Stir occasionally about 20 mins. Season with salt and pepper. Strain cream sauce into bowl and let cool on counter.

Lasagna:
Cook pasta in large pot of salted boiling water according to directions, until tender however, firm about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sheets of lasagna to bowl filled with ice water. Repeat with remaining pasta in two more batches. Arrange the pasta in a single layer on kitchen towels.

The Oven:
Preheat to 350 degrees farenheit.

1) lightly grease 9 Inch square baking dish with 2 inch high sides
2) pour 1/4 of the white cream sauce into bottom of prepared baking dish
3) cover with a single layer of lasagne sheets
4) top with Rag¨ and then cover with another layer of the lasagna sheets
5) pour 3 tblsps of the bechamel over
6) sprinkle with Parmesano
7) cover with a single layer of lasagne again, then, 3 tblsps of bechamel and then the Rag¨, then the Parmesano
8) To complete, top with 1/4 of the Rag¨ and cover with a single layer of lasagna sheets
9) pour 3 tblsps of cream sauce over
10) now, cover again with lasagne sheets and top with remaining Rag¨
11) cover with remaining cream sauce
12) sprinkle remaining Parmesano
13) cover the baking dish with aluminum foil for 1 night in the refrig to firm up
14) Let stand 10 mins. the next day, and bake for 35 mins. to 45 minutes uncovered
15) Let the Lasagna stand with open oven door for 15 minutes, and do not move it ... the ingredients shall settle ... Then, it is ready to serve, with warm oven Italian style bread and a good red wine ...

Enjoy,
Courtesy of writer: Margaux Cintrano.

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Old 03-20-2012, 08:58 AM   #2
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Absolutely GORGEOUS!

I never made vincisgrassi, and I never tasted them. Now the time has come! Maybe I will substitute chicken stock with beef stock, but this is one of my (absolutely unfounded) aversions. I mean, I love to eat stock made from hen, but I never use chicken stock in my kitchen. It's a real mistery.
And I hate chicken livers, too, but I'm afraid I'll have to use them for this recipe.
Margi, what mushrooms do you suggest? Are porcini good enough?

Thanks
Luca
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:19 PM   #3
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Smile Buonasera Luca: Grazie Grazie

Luca,

" A tavola si sta sempre en alegria " ... " At the table, one is always
happy " ...

Thank you so much for your lovely messages.

Firstly, to answer your questions about the Umbria Chicken Rag¨ Vincisgrasse made with chicken.

*** Yes, of course, it can be made with beef stock, a substitute meat can be utilized instead of the chicken and the chicken livers ... *** For example, increasing the sausage and pancetta quantity, adding ground pork to substitute the chicken and the chicken livers, increasing the amount of Porcini or Boletus Eduli, and any wild mushroom available seasonally at the moment and / or also, adding eggplant, melazana and zucchini with additional tomato paste.

SI VA BENE ? ( yes, that┤s fine )

*** Now we can call it: Vincisgrassi di Luca Lazzaro ...

I am sure, that if you re-measure all without the chicken and the chicken livers, you can create Vincisgrassi di Luca Lazzaro ...

Then, do please post the recipe for us ...

Grazie, Grato ...
Margi.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:43 PM   #4
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Thanks for your answer, Margi, but...

it's Lazzari not Lazzaro aarrrgghhhh You reminded me of my army days, there was this sergeant, every time I met him he always shouted the same thing: "Laaaazzaro, alzati e cammina" (Lazarus, come forth. John 11:1-54), then he started laughing like a demented hyena...

And I will surely post my vincisgrassi version.

Thanks again
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:53 PM   #5
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So sorry ... Luca, thanks for understanding ...

Margi.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Margi Cintrano View Post
So sorry ... Luca, thanks for understanding ...

Margi.
I will ever trade a beautiful recipe from a nice friend for a vowel or two...

Ciao Margi!
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:04 PM   #7
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Ciao Luca,

Si va vene ... I am a bit Distrutto ... ( very tired ) ... How is the weather in Pavia ? It has changed from gorgeous spring to horrid windy grey and crazy March ... I do not know if we shall have a rain storm or worse so late in March and on the 1st day of Spring ( 21st ) ...

Margi.
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