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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Chicken Pesto Lasagne

Must be my " chicken week " as I made another favourite Chicken Pesto Lasagna. Probably better in summer as you can take advantage of the beautiful fresh basil that is seasonal. I think you will find there isn't a problem finding it now. I like to make my own pesto, but if you don't feel inclined you may use a store bought one. I am not sure where this recipe originally came from as I have been making it for so long, but as with all lasagnas there is many a variation on the original idea.
The tomato sauce or passata is a lovely addition as it cuts through the creamy sauce. A little green salad would be nice with it, or leave it as a dish by itself.
Lasagna sheets come as dried or fresh and cooked and chilled from the refrigerator section, or shelf at the supermarket. They do soak up a lot of liquid to cook, so make sure the sheets are well covered with the béchamel sauce.

1 packet of Lasagna sheets either fresh or dried
4 chicken breasts or 8 thigh fillets you could also use chicken strips.
250 grams mozzarella, grated
100 grams shredded parmesan

1 bunch fresh basil leaves or about 1 1/2 cups leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup Rylstone olive oil or similar
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup plain flour
2 cups milk
1 chicken stock  cube
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Tomato Passata see Veal Parmigana recipe

You will need a food processor for the pesto. Alternatively a hand blander might do the trick. All in together and drizzle the olive oil in as you blend it.

For the béchamel, melt the butter and stir in the flour to make a roux a thick paste. Warm the milk, if you add cold milk you will get lumps ! Crush the stock cube and add to the warm milk and stir.
Gradually add the milk to the roux and stir as the sauce thickens. Add the pepper and nutmeg.
Lastly add the pesto to the béchamel and set aside.

Cut the chicken into strips about 11/2 pieces and poach them, until just cooked.
Spread a thin layer of the béchamel on the bottom of a dish. Cover this with a layer of lasagna sheets,
pesto bechamel sauce and cover with a layer of the chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella.
Continue layering, finishing with a layer of lasagna sheets, bechamel and parmesan.
Cover with foil and  cook in a 175 oven for 30 minutes or until cooked. You may take the foil off for the last 10 minutes. Serve on a bed of the tomato passata with a sprinkling of parmesan.

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