Chicken Lasagne Recipe
A chicken and tomato sauce, spinach and ricotta mixture, and cheese sauce are layered with pasta sheets in a baking dish. The lasagne is topped with grated cheese and oven baked until bubbly and golden.
Preparation time: about 1.5 hours (excludes baking time)
Serves: about 8-10
We use a 20ml tablespoon and 250ml measuring cup for all of our recipes.
20ml (1 tablespoon) oil (e.g. extra light olive oil)
200g (about 1 large) onion, peeled and finely chopped
100g (about 1 large stick) celery, ends trimmed, finely chopped
120g (about 1 medium) carrot, peeled and finely chopped
500g lean chicken mince (we use mince made from chicken breast fillets)
150g flat mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and roughly chopped
10g crushed garlic (about 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed)
75g (1/4 cup) tomato paste
800g canned tomatoes (chop if using canned whole tomatoes)
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock (we use a low-salt stock)
6g (1 tablespoon) chopped fresh oregano leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
6g (1 tablespoon) chopped fresh basil leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 bay leaves
Salt, to taste (we use about 1/4 teaspoon fine table salt)
Pepper, to taste (we use about 1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper)
850g bunch silverbeet
250g creamy ricotta cheese
50g (1/2 cup) grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
Salt, to taste (we use about 1/8 teaspoon fine table salt)
Pepper, to taste
60g (1/4 cup) butter
50g (1/3 cup) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (or 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
562ml (2 1/4 cups) milk (we use milk with about 3.6 percent fat)
50g (1/2 cup) grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lasagne Sheets and Cheese Topping
About 300g dry instant lasagne sheets
66g (2/3 cup) grated mozzarella cheese
33g (1/3 cup) grated parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a heavy-based large saucepan or stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened but not browned (about 10 minutes).
Increase heat to medium-high and add the chicken mince. Break up mince by mashing with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon until no large clumps remain.
Add mushrooms, garlic and tomato paste to the saucepan and cook, stirring, for about two to three minutes.
Add tomatoes, chicken stock, oregano, basil and bay leaves to the chicken mixture and stir to combine.
Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat so that the mixture is simmering. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced slightly. The sauce should be runnier than you would like it to be in the finished lasagne as some of the liquid will be absorbed by the lasagne sheets as they cook.
Remove saucepan from the heat. Discard the bay leaves. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
If you are not assembling the lasagne at this stage, cover and refrigerate the chicken mixture until required.
Remove the stalks from the silverbeet leaves. Rinse leaves with water and leave water clinging to the leaves. Place leaves in a large saucepan and cover with a lid.
Place saucepan over high heat until leaves have wilted (about 2-3 minutes). © exclusivelyfood.com.au
Remove from the heat. Leave silverbeet covered in saucepan for about five minutes to cool slightly.
Finely chop the silverbeet.
Using your hands, squeeze the silverbeet to remove as much moisture as possible (this prevents the liquid from making the lasagne too watery).
Place cooled silverbeet, ricotta, parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until well combined. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to assemble the lasagne.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk flour and nutmeg into melted butter and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, for about 30 seconds.
Remove saucepan from the heat, add the milk, and whisk until smooth. Return saucepan to the heat and whisk constantly to prevent the sauce sticking on the bottom of the pan. Cook until sauce thickens and bubbles (you may need to stop whisking to see the bubbling), about 7-10 minutes. Remove saucepan from the heat.
Whisk parmesan cheese into sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assembly and Baking
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Celsius fan-forced). Adjust the oven rack to the middle shelf position (not necessary for a fan-forced oven).
You will need an ovenproof dish with a capacity of at least 3.25 litres (13 cups) and height of at least 6.5cm. Our dish measures 19.5cm by 33.5cm (top inside measurements) by 6.5cm deep.
Spread about 1/3 cup (95g) of the cheese sauce over the base of the dish. This thin layer of sauce will help prevent the pasta from sticking to the dish.
Cover the sauce with a single layer of pasta.
Spread half of the chicken mixture over the pasta.
Cover chicken mixture with a layer of pasta.
Spread half the remaining cheese sauce over the pasta. If you're dividing the sauce by eye (rather than measuring it), it's better to use a little less cheese sauce for this layer so that you'll have enough to cover the top layer of pasta.
Dollop spoonfuls of the spinach mixture over the cheese sauce and spread evenly.
Cover with a layer of pasta.
Spread remaining chicken mixture over the pasta. Cover with a layer of pasta.
Spread the remaining cheese sauce over the pasta, making sure it is completely covered. Sprinkle the combined mozzarella and parmesan cheeses evenly over the sauce.
Cover lasagne with a piece of baking paper and then a piece of aluminium foil.
Bake lasagne for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for a further 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is golden and the pasta is tender (test with a knife). Remove lasagne from oven and set aside for about 10 minutes to allow it to firm up slightly before cutting and serving.
Store lasagne, covered, in the refrigerator or freezer. We freeze in individual serve portions. © www.exclusivelyfood.com.au