Thursday, January 29, 2009
CHICKEN FLORENTINE LASAGNA
Growing up, we didn't eat lasagna very much. I'm guessing it had something to do with those thick noodles that broke during boiling and required a great deal of counter space to lay out. I think, too, manicotti made from homemade crepes or ravioli--back in the day we had Star Ravioli right in Englewood Cliffs--held greater appeal. When I began making my own pasta and then later when I discovered places that sold wonderful homemade pasta sheets, I began to make lasagna on the holidays. What really revolutionized lasagna and made it a weeknight meal, however, was the introduction of the no-boil noodles back in the 90's. I much prefer the taste of these thin sheets of pasta to those thick, curly-edged noodles of my childhood.
While I've frequently "lightened" lasagna made with tomato sauce, I haven't tried too many lightened versions of bechamel-dressed lasagna. In an old Cooking Light annual review, I found this recipe for chicken florentine lasagna. I've made a bechamel-like sauce before using evaporated skimmed milk and was generally pleased with the results. This lasagna was very tasty. I will make it again but will add some mushrooms and some part skim ricotta to fill in those layers. It would be equally tasty as a vegetarian dish; just eliminate the chicken and add some roasted red peppers and mushrooms to the spinach.
This is a great weeknight meal. It goes together in about 10 minutes and cooks in 30 minutes. It is also light in calories and fat, so fits into my more healthy eating commitment.
Serves 41 1/2 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
2 (12 oz) cans evaporated skim milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 6 oz)
1 (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3/4 cup (3 oz) part skim mozzarella, shredded
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for about 30 seconds. Gradually add the milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Stir in the salt and nutmeg and cook until thickened. This could take from 5-8 minutes,
Spray an 8 inch square baking dish. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom. Arrange 2 noodles on top of the sauce. Top with half the chicken and half the spinach and 3/4 cup of the sauce. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining sauce over the noodles, covering them completely. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the cover and top with the mozzarella. Bake 5 minutes more. Let stand about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.