Let's all be honest here, the photos don't look too fabulous. I admit it myself. The lasagna doesn't look much more appealing than a blob on a plate. I had some trouble plating the thing and got impatient so I didn't bother trying to exhibit the nice layers and all that, let alone adding any garnish to pretty the dish up.
However, I want you to trust me when I say that this was a pretty awesome lasagna. The reason I got impatient was the lovely aroma, which really got the hunger juices flowing. I momentarily placed this blog at the back of my mind and switched my first priority to: eat eat eat.
This recipe is my own design. I fiddled around to try and achieve what I WANTED with what I HAD in the pantry and fridge. I get caught with random cravings and on this occasion, it was quite specific: spinach + chicken + pasta. Creating a lasagna was quite instinctive from that point onwards.
There's 3 components to this dish: the chicken, the spinach and the cheese sauce. I made my lasagna sheets myself using the basic pasta dough recipe from here. You can obviously just buy your sheets pre-made. I used a tiny 9cm x 9cm glass casserole dish to bake my lasagna.
Alfredo Chicken and Spinach Lasagna
- 150g spinach, washed and chopped
- 1/2 potato, cooked and mashed
- 125ml chicken stock
- 200g chicken mince
- 1/2 brown onion, chopped finely
- few leaves of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 200ml (1/2 can) of creamy chicken soup or creamy mushroom soup
- 150g fresh ricotta
- 1/3 cup of grated parmesan
- 1 bay leaf
- few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 3-4 lasagna sheets
- 1/3 cup of fresh mozzarella, torn
- extra parmesan for sprinkling over the top
- 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs tossed with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil
1. First, get the spinach layer ready. In a small pan, heat up the chicken stock. Mix in the mashed potato and spinach until the spinach is wilted. Set aside.2. In a small frying pan, brown the onion and garlic with some oil. Add the chicken mince and tarragon. Stir around until the chicken changes color. Break up any large clumps of mince. Set aside.
3. To make the sauce, combine the soup, ricotta, parmesan, bay leaf and thyme in a small saucepan until all melted together and bubbling away. Let it reduce and thicken for about 5min on high. Stir to prevent burning. Add the cornstarch and stir through to thicken the sauce even further.4. If your lasagna sheets require blanching, do so now. Once everything is ready, begin layering your lasagna. When I made mine, I just did it any old way but now in hindsight, I recommend you do this: a layer of chicken, a layer of sauce, a lasagna sheet, a layer of spinach, a layer of sauce, a lasagna sheet... and so on, alternating between chicken and spinach till you've used everything up. Top with a lasagna sheet.5. Crumble the mozzarella over the top and sprinkle on more parmesan. Sprinkle the oiled breadcrumbs over the top too.6. Bake in an oven preheated to 180 degrees for about 10-15min till the cheese on top is bubbling and golden and the breadcrumbs are crunchy.7. Let it rest in the oven for 10min or so to 'develop' (skip this part if you're starving and impatient). The flavors will improve.
Because all the components of the lasagna are cooked before you even pop it into the oven, the actual baking process is FAST. All you're waiting for is the cheese to melt and the breadcrumbs to turn golden. As you can see with mine, the breadcrumbs are a LITTLE over but they still tasted good.
I've already raved about how hearty and yum this chicken and spinach lasagna was. It's also reasonably healthy since there's no cream and you're loading it with spinach and lean chicken.