Monday, October 12, 2009

Chicken Lasagna

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chicken lasagna

I have been thinking about my grandma a lot lately. She turned 87 last month. She doesn't cook anymore these days, but when she was younger, she was a wonderful cook and I would always look forward to eating her pastas and desserts. I always enjoyed spending time with my grandparents, but I regret not spending as much time with them in the kitchen. I could never imagine, back then, that cooking would be such an important part of my life. Because of that, I never got to see how my grandma prepared her legendary chicken lasagna... Now it's too late to ask, so this is my attempt to recreate it. The most important thing on a lasagna for me is the sauce. It has to be a white sauce, not ricotta cheese. For the filling, a nicely seasoned cooked chicken and tomato sauce will do just fine. Choose your favorite lasagna noodles. I use the "no-boil" ones, it's easier.

Chicken Lasagna Recipe:

makes 1 lasagna (9x13 inches)

You will need:

For the chicken filling:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 can of chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

For the white sauce:

5 tablespoons of butter

4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

4 cups of warm milk

2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon of pepper

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

For assembling the lasagna:

1 package of lasagna noodles (I use the "no-cook" type)

1 lb of shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup of grated parmesan

Make the chicken filling:

Cook the chicken breasts in water along with the bay leaf until cooked through. Drain and shred the meat. In a large pan, heat the oil and cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Mix in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, mix in the chicken and set aside.

Make the white sauce:

Melt the butter in a medium pot or pan. Add the flour and cook it until it's no longer raw, about 3 minutes, stirring. Add the warm milk slowly to the pot, whisking it constantly until all the milk is added and the sauce is smooth. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking until the sauce thickens it up enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the stove and set aside.

To assemble the lasagna:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon some of the white sauce on the bottom of a large (9x13 inches) baking dish. Make one layer of lasagna noodles (4 sheets per layer), cover it with some of the chicken filling and top it with some mozzarella, then white sauce. Make sure the white sauce is spread evenly, specially on the sides of the dish, so you won't end up with dry edges. Keep making layers of noodles, chicken mozzarella and white sauce, finishing with the white sauce remaining. Top everything with the grated parmesan. Cover the lasagna dish with foil, being careful not to let the foil touch the sauce. Bake it for 40 minutes, remove foil and let it get golden and bubbly, 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and wait 10 minutes before cutting the lasagna.

* If using the type of lasagna sheets that don't require pre-boiling, like I did, make sure there is enough sauce to cover the entire lasagna, or it will be dry. If you think there is not enough white sauce, thin it out a little bit by adding more milk into it, a tablespoon at the time and whisking well after each addition. Re-season if necessary.

chicken lasagna 1


Talita said...

Hummm.... Que delĂ­cia! Amo lasanha de frango!

Aggie said...

I feel the same way about my grandparents...they are getting older and not cooking as much, I'm trying to learn all I can!

I love how this lasagna looks! Delicious!

First time here...found you through the foodie blogroll!

Deseree said...

Yum This looks delicious Rita! I love the idea of a white sauce and the fact that it has a pound of mozzarella doesn't hurt either.

Gattina Cheung said...

your grandmom would be so proud of your creation! This white sauce really looks splendid!

Anonymous said...

I tried your recipe a few weeks ago. I like it for the most part but it came out too watery. I will try to make the sauce with a bit of heavy cream in addition to the milk. Good recipe, thanks for sharing!

Rita said...

@Anonymous - it sounds like your white sauce was a little too thin. Cooking it longer on the stovetop will thicken it up, just keep stirring so it doesn't burn on the bottom. I never used cream, if you do, let me know the results! Thanks for the feedback!

Anonymous said...

What size can of tomatoes did you use? I'm making the recipe this week. Thanks!

Rita said...

@thewaytohisheart - I use one of the large ones, I believe it's 28oz. If you think it gets too saucy (this lasagna has lots of sauce), you can always leave some out.
Hope it helps, good luck and enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

We loved it! Thank you!

julie said...

Made this for my Birthday party everyone loved it and wanted the repipe went down a storm 10/10. Loved it Thankyou Julie

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