Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicken Lasagna


Chicken Lasagna

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.

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