Rich and luxurious chicken pesto lasagne

    1 hour 15 min

    This is a special, decadent lasagne: a thick creamy white sauce containing 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. This is 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.

    Ramsden

    Cornwall, England, UK
    4 people made this

    Ingredients
    Serves: 6 

    • 750g skinless boneless chicken breast fillets
    • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 shallots, finely diced
    • 380g basil pesto
    • 2 large courgettes, cut into large chunks
    • 250ml white wine
    • 100g unsalted butter
    • 500ml thick double cream
    • 200g chopped mozzarella cheese
    • 75g grated Parmesan
    • 75g grated Pecorino Romano
    • 150g grated Provolone
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 heaped tablespoon dried marjoram
    • 1 packet (500g) ready-to-use lasagne sheets

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

    1. Cut the chicken into thick slices and remove the fat.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on a high heat. Lightly stir fry the shallots until translucent with a slight brown tint around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. 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. Reduce the heat further to maintain a low simmer. Cover and stew the mixture for 20 minutes, stirring once every 5 minutes.
    4. Preheat your oven to 200 C / Gas 6 with a 3 litre or larger casserole dish inside.
    5. Melt the butter in the cream in a saucepan on a medium heat, stirring gently until mixed. Stir in the cheeses, making sure to evenly mix them throughout the sauce.
    6. Add a generous amount of pepper along with the marjoram. Thicken the sauce on a low heat for a few minutes. Do not add any salt, as the Pecorino is already quite salty.
    7. Remove the preheated casserole dish from the oven, being careful not to burn yourself. Place it on top of a sturdy trivet or wire rack. Give the chicken and pesto mixture a thorough stirring and add layer of roughly half the stewed chicken and pesto mixture to cover the base of the dish well. To avoid including any excess oil when transferring to the casserole dish, 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.
    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 and bake uncovered until a dark gold and brown crust formed on top of the cheese sauce, 35 to 40 minutes,
    10. Remove the lasagne from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes before cutting.

    Tip

    Leftovers 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.
    Instead of dried marjoram, use 3 finely chopped tablespoons fresh marjoram, or instead of Provolone, use mature Cheddar, or a mixture of the two. You can use fresh pre-cooked lasagne sheets instead of dried.

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