Monday, September 24, 2007

white lasagne

i've been thinking about white lasagne a lot, mostly because missy's jamie doesn't eat red sauce (he's an alien) and i was looking for something a bit more delicate than a traditional lasagne for a dinner party. most of the recipes used jarred alfredo, which is super gross. i'm not into shelf-stable dairy. actually i rarely eat alfredo that's not my own (hi, italian restaurant? it's me, erin. you know there's no cheese in alfredo, right? okay, you obviously don't.). i thought about just winging it, but i'm not sure how home-made alfredo would react to long baking. seems to me it would be a bit too thick and dry out.

anyway i finally found this recipe on epicurious. the answer, beschamel! i did change a few things...
1) i traded a can of drained and chopped artichokes for the mushrooms. because i didn't have to cook them...i didn't cook them. i just tossed them in the bowl with everything else. this means you're cooking the spinach alone and don't really have to cover the pan at all.
2) all of those spices = italian seasoning. read the label, really, i'm not kidding. i accidentally put 1/2 in the chicken and 1/2 in the spinach rather than 1/2 in the chicken and 1/2 in the ricotta. i didn't notice any lacking for/over spicing.
3) i did make it a few hours ahead of time and let it sit out. i find with no-bake lasagne sheets it's good, especially for the top layer, to let it hang out and soak up sauce. also you may want to push the pasta corners down with a spoon every so often, they'll curl a bit. i use the traditional flat kind. if you're really worried about that top layer not softening up enough, cover it for the first 20 minutes so it can steam a bit in the oven.
4) oh and after cooking the chicken i cut it into much tinier pieces. or you could shred it. i like my lasagne a bit more homogeneous, without all the big hunks of stuff.

For sauce
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk

For chicken filling
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 pound white mushrooms
3/4 pound fresh spinach
5 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 teaspoon Tabasco
a 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

fifteen 7 x 3 1/2-inch sheets dry no-boil lasagne pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
Make sauce:
In a saucepan melt butter over moderately low heat. Stir in flour and cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes. Add milk in a stream and bring mixture to a boil, whisking until thick and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer sauce over low heat, whisking occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened. Transfer sauce to a bowl and cover surface with a buttered round of wax paper.

Make filling:
Into a small bowl crumble oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme. Thinly slice mushrooms. Discard coarse stems from spinach and coarsely chop spinach. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch strips. In a large skillet melt butter over moderate heat and cook chicken, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, and half of herb mixture, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.

Add wine to skillet and bring mixture to a boil, stirring. Add mushrooms and spinach and cook, covered, until spinach is wilted. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, remaining herb mixture, Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid given off by mushrooms is evaporated. Transfer mushroom mixture to chicken and stir until combined well. Reserving 1 cup sauce, add remaining sauce with salt and pepper to taste to chicken mixture and stir until combined well.

Preheat oven to 350°F. and butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish (3-quart).

In a bowl whisk together ricotta, egg, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour 1/2 cup reserved sauce into baking dish (sauce will not cover bottom completely) and cover with 3 pasta sheets, making sure they do not touch each other. Spread half of chicken mixture over pasta sheets in dish and top with another 3 pasta sheets. Spread half of ricotta mixture over pasta and top with another 3 pasta sheets.

Continue layering lasagne in same manner with remaining chicken mixture, pasta sheets, and ricotta mixture, ending with pasta. Spread remaining ‚ cup sauce over top and sprinkle with Parmesan. Lasagne may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bake lasagne in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until bubbling and golden.

September 1997
1999-02-01 16:06:45.0

No comments: