This delicious dish was unusual for us only in that we do not by design have to avoid gluten. However with what feels like a growing number of friends who must omit the grain-based protein, it seems to make sense to get a handle on a few staples. I am proud to say that our first gluten-intolerant dinner guest pronounced this dish delicious! This lasagna can be made with traditional noodles as well.
Which leads me from various dietary needs to a more general aspect of cooking that I gave considerable thought to while prepping this dish: long recipes. Before I starting diving into them, they used to only serve to reinforce a quick flip of the cookbook page, a rapid click the right arrow. What I’ve come to realize though is that many a short recipe can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, that is, a multi-step endeavor that would actually be more approachable and digestible were there clearly delineated steps. For example when adding freshly roasted chicken to lasagna, what is the best order of operations to synch up prep time? Abbreviated recipes can leave you guessing!
With that said I tried to plot out this recipe in a series of steps for preparation optimization. It’s not quick per se, but it is easy and I think less stressful than reading between fewer lines. The steps are simple in and of themselves. While hands-on time is on the higher side, you do save overall time – several portions may be frozen. Or if serving a bigger group, a green salad is all you need to complete a satisfying weeknight dinner.
Lasagna with Chicken & Mushrooms
Hands-On Time: 45 Minutes – 1 Hour
Special Equipment: Roasting Pan (for Chicken), Metal Strainer or Cheesecloth, 9×11 baking dish
- Meat from two chicken breasts, preferably from a whole roasted chicken
- 1 Oz Dried Porcini Mushrooms, or Dried Mushroom Mix
- 12 Oz Stemmed and Sliced Cremini Mushrooms
- 1/4 Red Onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 6 Garlic Cloves, Minced, separated into two 3-Clove Portions
- 1/2 Cup White Wine
- 1 Tsp Salt, separated into two 1/2 tsp portions
- 1 Tbsp Chopped Rosemary
- 1/3 Cup Fresh Ricotta
- 1/4 Cup Corn Flour
- 2 & 1/4 Cups 2% Milk
- Ready to Bake Lasagna Sheets (gluten-free or not, depending on your needs)
Part 1: Early Prep
- Prepare whole chicken or skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts for roasting. My foolproof method: 350 Degrees F for twenty minutes per pound. (See more chicken roasting tips here.) Begin roasting chicken.
- Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and place the dried mushrooms in a heat-proof bowl.
- Pour boiling water over dried mushrooms, cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Tidy up chicken prep / clean all related dishes, tools & surfaces.
- Set all prepared ingredients and tools within arms reach before proceeding.
Part 2: Filing Prep
- Using a metal strainer or cheese cloth, drain the dried mushrooms, reserving the water. Set water aside, coarsely chop and set aside mushrooms.
- Melt butter In a large skillet over medium heat, then add 1 tbsp olive oil and swirl around to incorporate and coat the pan.
- Add the chopped red onion and sauté until browning, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add the chopped cremini mushrooms, 1/2 salt and pinch of pepper and sauté mushrooms until reduced to about half their size, another 6-8 minutes.
- Add the rehydrated mushrooms, chopped rosemary and garlic cloves, stir and sauté to incorporate, 2-3 minutes.
- Add wine, and stir regularly until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in ricotta
Part 3: Béchamel Prep
- Add 1/4 cup milk to the corn flour and stir gently with a metal whisk until incorporated. It may seem a little runny – that’s okay.
- Briefly sauté remaining three garlic cloves in 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium sauce pan – about one minute.
- Add reserved mushroom liquid, 2 cups milk, 1/2 salt and pinch pepper. Bring to a boil, whisking and watching carefully to prevent boiling over!
- Reduce heat slightly and stir in corn flour/milk mixture.
- Bring to a simmer, whisking every few moments, and let liquid reduce.
Prepping the Chicken:
- By now, all but a very large roasting bird should be finished cooking.
- Pull apart chicken breast into shreds and set aside.
Part 4: Assembly!
- Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
- Using the back of a large stirring spoon or a ladle, spread a think layer of the béchamel onto the bottom of the 9×11 baking dish. (Remember to first coat the dish with a non-stick spray.)
- Set the lasagna sheets down to cover the bottom of the dish. Some overlapping at the edges is okay.
- Spread a thin layer of the sauce on top of the first layer of sheets.
- Next, spread a layer of mushrooms. The layer should be about one mushroom thick, but should cover the noodles completely.
- Finally, add a light layer of shredded chicken. Some mushrooms should peek through.
- Drizzle a small amount of sauce atop the chicken, then, add the next layer of noodles.
- Repeat layers until you are at the top of the dish.
- Top the final layer of sheets with the béchamel, then sprinkle with about 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. The golden brown, crispy top layer owes to this step so don’t think of omitting!
- Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until top is golden brown.
- Allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving.