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A Nod to Nonna ♥

In honour of National Lasagna Day, District Executive Chef Andrew Piccinin shares the story behind our meticulously crafted signature dish


Parcheggio Lasagna

Layers of Love

“Direct from her dining room table to our menu, the lasagna that we serve here at Parcheggio is nearly identical to my nonna’s recipe. It’s a real showstopper and a dish that speaks to the love, care, and attention of the person making it. Though there are many renditions from various regions in Italy, the version my grandmother made was particular to her kitchen. Composed of many thin layers of pasta very lightly dressed with meat ragù, shredded mozzarella, Parmigiano, parsley, and basil, there is no ricotta, spinach, or Béchamel. Uncomplicated, it showcases tremendous skill in its simplicity. While our guests have the opportunity to try it daily, my nonna only made it on special occasions, maybe once or twice a year.

When served as a primo (or first course), she would offer a small piece to each guest, who would invariably wolf it down. Since a classic Italian celebratory meal at Nonna’s house would include antipasto (pickles, sliced meats, breadsticks), the primo (lasagna in this case), and then at least three or four entrées after (ribs, braised chicken, homemade sausages with peperonata, roasted potatoes, braised greens, cutlets of veal, etc.), a single piece is plenty… but it’s a devilishly hard choice to make when the woman who made it would happily serve you a second or third piece!”

“To recreate Nonna’s specialty, the pasta layers need to be incredibly thin — this makes for an extremely light and delicate lasagna that eats far easier than heavier versions. Nonna would make hers six to eight layers thick, but Parcheggio’s version is never fewer than 14. To develop the gluten structure to support the lasagna’s assembly, the dough needs to be well-kneaded. This ensures the thin layers of pasta are robust enough to stand up to construction while maintaining its delicacy… a tricky thing! We hand-knead our dough, which is essential to our lasagna’s tender and luxurious mouthfeel. Noodles are rolled thin and cut into sheets, which are then blanched in salted water (again, pretty tricky when the noodles are fragile!). This sets the pasta, making sure it retains its structure during assembly and cooking.

The whole process takes hours (the ragù itself takes a few) and is a true labour of love. Every day, we assemble, bake, and serve our lasagna one pan at a time. There’s no pre-baking here! It’s our way of keeping the product at its best and freshest and is the same reason it is available in limited supply. Served with a smile at our cozy North York outpost, just nine portions are available daily, and once they’re gone… they’re gone! Join us for a taste of Italy and snag a piece while you can.”

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