Parma ham, chicken liver and mushroom vincisgrassi
- September 2016
- Serves 6-8
- Hands-on time 55 min, oven time 30-35 min, plus infusing
Vincisgrassi is a version of lasagne from the Marche region of Italy – although it may take time to make, the result is an incredible flavour-packed, guest-wowing main course.
- 29.3g (16.3g saturated)
- 28.7g (6.8g sugars)
- 50g dried porcini mushrooms
- 250ml fresh chicken stock, hot
- 150g parma ham slices
- 9 sheets (175g) dried lasagne
- 30g butter, plus extra to grease
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 450g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 400g free-range chicken livers, trimmed and coarsely chopped
For the sauce
- 1 small onion, halved
- 8 cloves
- 1 litre whole milk, plus extra for topping up if necessary
- 6 fresh bay leaves, crumpled
- 2 large fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
- 75g butter
- 65g plain flour 150g cheddar, finely grated
¼ nutmeg, freshly grated
You’ll also need…
- 20cm x 29cm shallow baking dish
- For the sauce, stud the onion with the cloves and put in a pan with the milk, bay, thyme and peppercorns. Bring to the boil, then take off the heat. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
- Put the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl, cover with the hot stock and put a ramekin on top to keep them submerged. Set aside. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil.
- Cut the parma ham slices in half lengthways, stack them up, then cut them across into thin slivers.
- Drop the lasagne a sheet at a time into the boiling water and cook for 12 minutes or until al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water, then lay out the sheets side by side on a large sheet of cling film. Cover with more cling film.
- Drain the porcini, reserving the stock, then squeeze out any excess liquid. Heat the 30g butter and oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the porcini and fry gently for 2 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms, increase the heat and fry for 3 minutes. Add the reserved chicken stock and cook rapidly until the liquid has almost evaporated. Add the chicken livers and fry for 3 minutes, stirring. Add the parma ham and stir until well mixed. Remove from the heat and season with pepper – the ham should make it salty enough.
- Bring the milk for the sauce back to the boil, then strain through a sieve into a jug (discard the flavourings) and make back up to 1 litre with extra milk if necessary. Melt the 75g butter in a medium pan, add the flour and cook gently for 2 minutes, stirring, without letting it colour. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the hot milk. Bring back to the boil, stirring, then simmer gently over a very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until it thickens to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Remove the sauce from the heat, then add 75g of the grated cheddar and the nutmeg. Season. Butter a 20cm x 29cm shallow baking dish and line the base with 3 of the cooked lasagne sheets. Spoon over a third of the chicken liver mixture, then pour over a third of the cheese sauce. Repeat these layers twice more, finishing with the final lasagne sheets, then sprinkle with the remaining cheddar.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and bubbling and heated through. Serve with a mixed leaf salad.
This is a dish for a special occasion as it takes time to prepare, but you can make it a day ahead. Take it out of the fridge an hour before baking so it can come back to room temperature.
The original dish used black truffles. As these are beyond most people’s budget, you could add a splash of truffle olive oil to the chicken livers if you wish (step 5).
If you don’t like chicken liver, use 400g sausagemeat and fry for 10 minutes longer (step 5).
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