feasting at home: Rosemary Chicken Lasagna

January 6, 2013

Rosemary Chicken Lasagna

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.
Naomi Shihab Nye

I love Sundays…cozy, relaxing, and practically begging for comfort food. Here is one of my favorite recipes on cold snowy days like these...perfect for curling up on the couch with a good book or watching the highly anticipated season opener of Downton Abby. With a few hours left before the show, you still have time to run to the store and whip up this easy recipe of Rosemary Chicken Lasagna.

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Normally when catering, we use fresh pasta sheets when making lasagna. But at home I will often substitute egg roll wrappers, with surprisingly good results. The egg roll wrappers eliminate a step, by not having to make pasta, or boil pasta, so it really saves time, leaving you with more time to relax.  They are a tiny bit thinner than both fresh pasta and dry pasta,  so the lasagna turns out a little lighter and more delicate. The problem with this is... I usually end up eating more. 






The filling is very adaptable as you will see from the recipe. I personally like adding mushrooms and spinach to the chicken.  You could leave these out. Or, you could just as easily leave out the chicken and make this completely vegetarian by adding more mushrooms ( or other veggies) and spinach. 

Before laying down the pasta sheets or egg roll wrappers, make sure to grease the pan and spread the bottom of the pan with some of the creamy flavorful Rosemary Béchamel sauce. 





Small dollops of ricotta are added next.


Next comes half of the filling.


Top with a little more creamy béchamel, Parmesan, lemon zest and fresh mozzarella. And then repeat the whole process.

For the top layer, spread with the remaining béchamel, sprinkle with Parmesan and more rosemary.


Place in a 400 F oven, covered with foil, until heated through and bubbling, 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil and let bake uncovered until beautiful and golden, about 10 more minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Enjoy with a healthy salad.


 


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Rosemary Chicken Lasagna
A flavorful and comforting recipe, that is easy to make, using egg roll wrappers.

Ingredients:

Filling:
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite size, 1/2 inch pieces ( or replace with 1 lb wild mushrooms)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (optional- or replace with 8 oz more chicken)
1/2 red onion- diced
8 cloves garlic -chopped
1 T fresh rosemary- chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt -plus two generous pinches for chicken
cracked pepper
1-2 C packed, chopped fresh spinach ( or arugula)
2 T olive oil
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12 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, divided -saving 4 oz for béchamel
15 oz whole milk ricotta
3/4 C Parmesan
lemon zest 1T
1 package egg roll wrappers, or fresh pasta sheets


Bechamel Ingredients:
4 T butter ( or olive oil)
4 T flour
1 T fresh rosemary, chopped
3 C hot whole milk
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp white pepper


Truffle oil- optional but amazing

Note: Kosher salt is less salty than table salt. If using regular table salt you will need less.

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400F
1. Cut chicken into 1/2 inch, bite size pieces. Season with 2 generous three finger pinches of kosher salt and cracked pepper. Saute in a skillet, on medium heat, with 1-2 T oil until golden brown, and cooked through. Place chicken in a bowl and set aside. In the same pan, saute diced onion until tender, on med high heat, about 5 min. You may need to add a little more oil. Add garlic, lower heat to medium, saute 2 minutes. Add rosemary, mushrooms, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and lower heat to med low, and saute until mushrooms release liquid and are tender, about 10 minutes. Add chopped spinach, stir until wilted and add chicken. Set aside.

2. Make Bechamel Sauce:
In a small pot, melt butter on med low heat. Add flour and stir for five minutes on med heat until flour is golden. Whisk in a cup of hot milk at a time. Add Rosemary and bring to a boil, d
o not leave unattended, stirring constantly. Add 4 oz. mozzarella and stir until melted and thickened. Add salt, nutmeg and white pepper. Simmer for a few minutes,  then set aside.

3. Assemble Lasagna. Use fresh pasta sheets if possible. If not available, substitute large egg roll wrappers. Butter or grease a 8x 12 in pan. Pour 1/2 C bechamel sauce in the bottom and spread out. Lay down one layer of fresh pasta sheet or two layers of egg roll wrappers. Using a teaspoon, place teaspoon sized dollops of ricotta, using up about half the container. Spread out the 1/2 of the chicken mushroom filling, Drizzle 1/2 C bechemal, sprinkle 1/4 C Parmesan, and 4 oz of the fresh mozzarella and half of the lemon zest. Repeat, adding another single layer of pasta, or two layers of egg roll wrappers, lightly pressing down. Add dollops of ricotta, the remainder of the chicken mushroom filling, 1/2 C bechamel, the remaining mozzarella, 1/4 C Parmesan and remaining lemon zest. At this point, you could drizzle with a little truffle oil ( it's delicious).  Top with the last layer of pasta ( or egg roll wrappers) pour the remainder of the bechamel, spreading evenly. Add the final 1/4 C of Parmesan. Sprinkle with a little rosemary.

4. Bake covered tightly with foil in a 400F oven for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil and bake uncovered until top is golden, about 10 more minutes. Let rest out of the oven 10-15 minutes before cutting, so it sets up.
Yield: 8