Tuesday, February 14, 2012
This recipe is very special to me because it was one of the things I always loved that my mom made (even though mine will never come close to how good my mom's is). This is the one that I would always request she make on my birthday. Here is my recipe.
9 inch by 12 inch Baking Dish
Lasagna pasta sheets (you will need enough for a base layer, 3 layers of filling in between and for the top)
3 large Chicken Breast Halves
3 Cups Chicken Stock/Broth
2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 Plum Tomatoes (Seeded, pealed and finely diced)
1 Large Shallot (Thinly sliced and diced)
5 Cloves of Garlic (Thinly sliced)
2 Green Onions (Thinly sliced)
1/2 Red Pepper (Finely diced)
1 Large Carrot (Grated)
1 lb Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2 Cups Ricotta Cheese
1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Bechamel Sauce (see recipe at end)
Preheat oven at 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
Start by heating your chicken stock in a medium pot add the chicken breasts and allow to cook through. Once cooked through, remove the breasts from the broth and allow to cool. When they have cooled off shred them as you would pulled pork (you want long stringy pieces).
In a large pan heat your olive oil and add the tomatoes, shallot, garlic, green onions, red pepper and carrot and cook until the onions become translucent. (If your mixture starts to dry out a bit add a bit of the chicken stock used to cook the chicken breasts). Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the chicken to the vegetable mixture making sure to incorporate the chicken evenly and allowing the vegetable base to coat it. Once this is done set it aside.
In a bowl combine the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses until the Parmesan is evenly distributed into the ricotta. Set it aside.
Now start getting your pasta sheets ready in a large pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt and olive oil (I find it best to cook the pasta in batches on a per layer basis because it prevents the pasta from over cooking).
Get your baking dish ready by greasing the bottom of it with a little olive oil. Start by laying down a layer of pasta at the bottom. Add half of the chicken and vegetable mix onto the layer of pasta making sure to distribute it evenly. Add the bechamel sauce on top of the chicken vegetable mixture (this will insure that your chicken will not dry out) and top out with a sprinkling of grated mozzarella. Now add another layer of pasta. The next layer is going to be your ricotta Parmesan cheese mixture distributed thinly and evenly. Add another layer of pasta and add the remaining half of your chicken vegetable mixture. Top this layer off with Bechamel sauce and a sprinkling of shredded Mozzarella. Add the last layer of pasta and add the rest of the shredded Mozzarella.
Place your baking dish at the center of your oven and allow the lasagna to cook until you see the ingredients bubbling and the mozzarella on top starts to brown. About 20-30 minutes.
Once ready remove from oven and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy
Bechamel Sauce (my version at least)
2 Cups Chicken Stock/Broth (you can use the stock/broth used to cook the chicken breasts)
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Flour
Pinch of Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste (if necessary)
In a medium sauce pot, heat up your chicken stock/broth and heavy cream on medium heat until they they start to lightly simmer. Start sifting in the flour while whisking it into the broth and cream. Whisk until you are satisfied that there are no lumps and the flour has been well incorporated into the wet ingredients. Add the pinch of nutmeg. Allow to cook for about five additional minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside to be used when needed)