Chicken Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
December 18, 2014 • Pasta & Pizza
I’ve been busy catering holiday parties this month, and for a couple of them I made the BBQ Chicken (Duck) Egg Rolls from my latest cookbook, A Taste of Washington. That left me with some egg roll wrappers and some cooked chicken that I decided to turn into this simple lasagna. If you haven’t made lasagna with egg roll wrappers yet, you’re going to love this technique. They cook up into the most thin and delicate noodles, and there is no pre-cooking or boiling required. What’s more, they fit perfectly into an 8×8-inch baking dish, creating the perfect lasagna for 4 people.Lasagna is a perfect dish to sneak vegetables into if you have picky eaters or if you are just trying to eat more veggies like me. My mixture here includes carrots, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and basil mixed in a nice béchamel sauce with some cooked chicken.Lasagna is also the perfect place to use up little leftover bits of things – like the 1/2 cup of cottage cheese I had left from making a Smoked Trout Pate (from my Tasting Colorado cookbook) for one of my events.I love lasagna made with marinara sauce, but somehow when using chicken in lasagna, I think a white béchamel sauce with some Parmesan cheese added to it complements the chicken nicely. When making a béchamel, you can control the fat by opting for whatever level of fat you’d like in your milk – nonfat, 1%, 2%, whole, half-and-half, or cream all work, and the sauce gets increasingly richer as you increase the fat. I personally like 1% or 2%.Make sure you bake this lasagna uncovered so you brown up that great béchamel sauce on top. It takes on a nutty flavor, and you’ll find it irresistible I promise. Let the cooked lasagna sit for 5-10 minutes on the counter before trying to cut into it, and enjoy with a nice glass of wine for an easy, yet just a little bit special, home cooked dinner.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large carrot, diced small
- ½ medium onion, diced small
- ½ small red or yellow pepper, diced small
- 4 cooked boneless chicken thighs, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
- 5 large egg roll wrappers
- ½ cup cottage cheese
- ½ - 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- Heat the butter and flour in a saucepan over medium high heat, whisking together for 2-3 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, until the milks is fully incorporated and the sauce has thickened. Stir in the salt, pepper, and Parmesan and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, then add the carrot, onion, and pepper, and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and half of the béchamel sauce, then stir in the tomatoes and basil.
- Pour ½ cup of the sauce into the bottom of an 8x8-inch glass baking dish and lay 1 egg roll wrapper on top. Layer ¼ of the chicken mixture over the egg roll wrapper, then half of the cottage cheese. Place another wrapper over the mixture and press down gently, then layer another ¼ of the chicken mixture on top, and half of the mozzarella over the chicken. Repeat for 2 more layers: egg roll wrapper, chicken mixture, cottage cheese, egg roll wrapper, chicken mixture, mozzarella cheese. End with a final egg roll wrapper and then pour the remaining ½ cup of béchamel sauce over the top and smooth to the edges. Sprinkle with pepper and bake uncovered at 375 degrees until bubbly and hot, about 30-45 minutes.