Rich and luxurious chicken pesto lasagne

    Rich and luxurious chicken pesto lasagne

    6saves
    1hr15min


    3 people made this

    About this recipe: Use only the finest ingredients for this special, decadent lasagne. A thick creamy white sauce with four cheeses, coupled with chunky slices of chicken and courgette in a traditional basil pesto, separated by generous amounts of lasagne pasta sheets and topped with a golden cheese crust. My own recipe from scratch, I'm extremely proud of it, though I don't recommend indulging in it too often if you have high cholesterol or a dicky ticker. Serves 4 generously.

    Ramsden Cornwall, England, UK

    Ingredients
    Serves: 6 

    • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 Echalion shallots, finely diced
    • 750g skinless boneless chicken breast fillets, cut into thick slices with fat removed
    • 380g Italian classic basil green pesto
    • 2 large courgettes, rinsed and cut into large chunks
    • 250ml Italian Pinot Grigio white wine
    • 100g unsalted English butter
    • 500ml English extra thick double cream
    • 200g chopped Mozzarella cheese
    • 75g grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    • 75g grated Pecorino Romano cheese
    • 150g grated Provolone Piccante cheese
    • freshly cracked black pepper
    • 1 heaped tablespoon dried marjoram
    • 1 packet ready-to-use lasagne sheets

    Method
    Prep:40min  ›  Cook:35min  ›  Ready in:1hr15min 

    1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or stock pot on a high heat. Once the oil is hot, use it to lightly stir fry the shallots for 1 or 2 minutes.
    2. Once the shallot is starting to turn translucent with a slight brown tint around the edges, add the chicken breast to the pan and cook for another few minutes until browned all over.
    3. Reduce to a medium heat, and stir in half of the pesto. Add the courgettes and stir in the other half of the pesto. Pour in the wine and mix everything together with a cook's spoon or spatula. Reduce the heat further to maintain a low simmer. Cover and stew the mixture this way for 20 minutes, stirring once every five or so minutes.
    4. Preheat your oven to 200 C / Gas 6 (190 C for fan ovens) with a 3 litre or larger casserole dish inside.
    5. Using a different hob to the stewing chicken and courgette, melt the butter into the cream inside a medium saucepan on a medium heat, stirring gently until mixed. Once all of the butter is melted, stir in the mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino and Provolone, making sure to evenly mix the cheeses throughout the sauce.
    6. Crack a generous amount of fresh black pepper into the cheese sauce, and stir in along with the marjoram. Thicken the sauce on a low heat for a few minutes. Do not add any salt! A lot of cooks add salt to sauces without thinking about it, but the Pecorino is loaded with the stuff already; adding more will mean that all you'll be able to taste is salt.
    7. Remove the preheated casserole dish from the oven, being careful not to burn yourself. I recommend placing it on top of a sturdy trivet or wire rack. Add a layer of roughly half the stewed chicken and pesto mixture so that the base of the dish is well covered. A lot of the oil in the pesto will have separated during the stewing, and much of the heavier elements will have settled to the bottom of the pan, so give the mixture a very thorough stirring first, and try to avoid including any excess oil when transferring to the casserole dish. An easy way is to use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and vegetables, and then a solid spoon or ladle for the liquid, skimming the oil off the top and back into the pan or down the sink.
    8. Cover the chicken and courgette layer with lasagne sheets, leaving no gaps. Ladle half of the thickened cheese sauce on top of the pasta, and gently cover this with pasta too, again leaving no gaps. Then add the rest of the chicken and pesto mixture to form a third layer, cover that with pasta sheets also, and finally the other half of the cheese sauce.
    9. Put the finished lasagne into the oven uncovered and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until you have a dark gold and brown crust formed on top of the cheese sauce.
    10. When cooked, remove the lasagne from the oven carefully and leave it to settle on a metal trivet or wire rack for about 5 minutes. Then use a knife to cut it into four evenly sized sections and serve in heated pasta bowls.

    Tip

    If there are only two or three of you having this for dinner, the remainder can be covered inside the original casserole dish with cling film or transferred to smaller containers to be kept in the fridge to be reheated and eaten again for up to two days. Don't try to freeze it though!

    Lasagne sheets

    You can use either ready-to-use dried lasagne, or pre-cook some fresh lasagne in some boiling water according to the instructions on the packet. Fresh pasta is better as it creates a better seal resulting in distinct layers in the finished lasagne, and is also less likely to dry out in the oven. It also tastes better.

    To serve

    You can serve with a light side salad of green leaves, and I highly recommend a good bottle of your favourite white wine, but this lasagne is very filling, very luxurious, and certainly not meant to be eaten with chips!

    Ingredients

    If using fresh marjoram, use one large finely chopped handful. Instead of the Provolone Piccante, you can use mature Cheddar, or a mixture of the two.

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