Tonight's menu is a chicken lasagna, since I haven't done it yet it's not so much a recipe as it is a plan. It's pretty much just your standard lasagna made with diced chicken. Usually I'll use browned hot Italian sausage when I do this.
1 lb. chicken breasts, skin & fat removed
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 can (29 oz.) tomato sauce
1/2-3/4 cup baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
medium sized onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2-1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp (seriously small amount) fennel seed
1 small container part skim ricotta cheese
1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1-2 cups shredded mozarella cheese
9-12 lasagna noodles, par-boiled
Preheat oven to 350° F
I've already taken the chicken breasts, washed them and patted them dry, added a sprinkling of salt & pepper to both sides and fried them in a heavy pan using no oil for about 2 minutes per side. They're nice and caramelized, they might not be cooked all the way through, but it doesn't really matter at this point because they'll be spending quite a bit of time in the oven later. I put them on a plate, covered them loosely with plastic wrap and they're sitting in the fridge until they cool down. Later, when I'm putting the sauce together, I'll dice them up.
For the sauce, I'll dice the onion, garlic and mushrooms and saute them in olive oil in a large sauce pan until the onions are just starting to get translucent. Then I'll add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, fennel seed and diced chicken and stir it all together. No need to heat it, it will be in the oven soon.
I'll boil up a bunch of water and cook the lasagna noodles until they're half-cooked and rinse them in cold water (I know you're not supposed to rinse your pasta, but those things are too hot to handle!).
Finally I'll make the "cement." I'll take the ricotta cheese, scoop it into a small mixing bowl, add one egg and stir it up until it's well mixed, add the parmesan cheese and maybe a handful of the shredded mozarella, and stir it all up again.
Building the lasagna:
I'll take a ladle and put a single scoop of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 inch baking pan, carefully place three lasagna noodles side by side and then use a spatula to spread a small amount of the ricotta cheese mixture on each noodle. I'll add a couple of ladles of sauce on top and finally, sprinkle some shredded mozarella on top. I'll keep repeating that until I've run out of either room or noodles. I'm going to keep a handful of mozarella cheese aside for later.
Then I cover the pan with foil and bake it for about 45 minutes, then uncover, sprinkle with the remaining mozarella and bake it for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese just starts to brown.
If you try this at home, let it sit for at least 10 minutes before you cut it.
I'm assuming this will be delicious.
- Sure enough, the chicken was pink in the middle when I diced it, but it cooked the rest of the way in the oven.
- Next time I think I'll add some baby spinach to each of the layers. It will add not only veggie matter, but sweetness.
- I wound up with extra sauce and ricotta mixture. The sauce will be easy to use.
- Another success!!