2/21/14

Foodie Friday -- Creamy Pesto Lasagna

I found this recipe in Food TV magazine. It looked good so I decided to try this recipe. It’s a winner! The family polished off the leftovers in two days, so it’s a keeper.

This makes 12 servings. 


Creamy Pesto Lasagna
Béchamel sauce:

4 Tbls. Butter
¼ cup flour
3 cups whole milk
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ cup purchased basil pesto
Salt and Black pepper to taste

Lasagna:

1 15-ounce package ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan
½ purchased basil pesto
12 dry, flat, no-boil lasagna noodles
3 cups diced rotisserie chicken
4 cups shredded, part-skim mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the béchamel, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and nutmeg, bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat, stir in ½ cup pesto; season with salt and pepper.

For the ricotta mixture, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, and ½ cup pesto; season with salt and pepper.

Assembling the lasagna:
Spread 2/3 cup béchamel in bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Lay 3 lasagna sheets side-by-side. Top with ½ cup ricotta mixture, ¾ cup chicken, 2/3 cup béchamel, and ¾ cup mozzarella. Repeat layering three more times, topping the final layer with 1 ½ cups mozzarella. Cover lasagna with foil.

Bake lasagna until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake lasagna 15 minutes more, then broil on high until golden, 2-3 minutes. Let lasagna rest 15 minutes before serving.

Tips & Tricks:
·         I didn't have whole milk, so I used skim milk along with a little bit of heavy cream to make up the 3 cups.
·         The recipe called for refrigerated basil pesto, but I couldn't find it, so I found jarred basil pesto in the pasta aisle. I bought two 8.1 ounce jars because I couldn’t remember how much was needed. I did need the second jar when I actually measured it out.
·         I didn’t use rotisserie chicken, though it would have made this recipe really easy. Instead I grilled two very large chicken breasts that I seasoned with Cavender’s Greek seasoning.
·         Yeah, I don’t follow the “4 cups of Mozzarella cheese” number. I bought an 8 cup package and almost used the entire package.
·         The béchamel sauce is pretty easy to make, so freak out about it. Be sure to taste the sauce AFTER you add the pesto but BEFORE you salt it. The pesto I bought was pretty salty, so I didn’t really have to salt the sauce.
·         Depending on the store bought pesto, it might be very, very garlicy. . . the brand I bought was (Classico), but the family didn’t care.
·         Have everything prepared to make quick work of layering the lasagna

Enjoy!

Later, Peeps! 


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