This week was going to be a busy one. With every other night but Monday being packed with some event, I wanted something to make for dinner on Monday night that would create good leftovers for the week and be quick to reheat. Lasagna it would be. And because I like to try new recipes, I tried this one.
It was OK, but Ben agreed that I have a better white lasagna recipe that I’ll probably stick to for now. This artichoke and mushroom lasagna is pretty spectacular. You can add chicken to it if you want to, but it doesn’t need it. It is a great vegetarian dinner option. I’ve made it for a few guests before and everyone seems to like it…or they’re just being nice!
Anyway, there were some great things about this lasagna. Melted in to the béchamel sauce is a creamy herb cheese that gives a great lively flavor. I made the mistake of trying to use 2% milk instead of whole milk in the béchamel, leaving it pretty runny even after baking. I’m not entirely sure it was just a milk problem, though. When I’ve made béchamel sauce in the past I’ve always made a butter and flour paste before adding the milk. This recipe didn’t call for any flour. I ended up adding some when I saw how thin the sauce was, but it didn’t solve the problem. So, I made some changes to the recipe below to help others avoid the runny béchamel.
Another change I would make it to cut the chicken into smaller pieces. I might even suggest shredding it. The pieces were just a little too big to get a good combination of noodle, mushroom, spinach, chicken and sauce in one bite.
The flavors are wonderful, and I like the combination of ingredients. I skimped on some of the cheese since I have often found lasagnas a bit too heavy on the cheese, but I might have skimped too much since the layers didn’t hold together well. It’s hard to tell what this would have been like if the béchamel had been thicker. It may not need more cheese…but then again it may. I don’t know for sure. I would guess that a thicker sauce would mean the same amount of cheese listed would be fine. But if you like cheese or you just don’t trust me, add more.
Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna
Adapted from New Italian Recipes
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
- 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon each dried thyme, oregano, basil and onion powder
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 8-12 ounces mozzarella cheese (sliced or shredded)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 12 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
- 1 cup onion, finely minced
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 cups whole milk (or 2%)
- pinch of cayenne
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8-10 ounces Boursin cheese (or similar soft, herb cheese)
- 12 ounces spinach, wilted down or sauted
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onions in butter until soft.
- Add flour; stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce thickens and lightly coats spoon, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
- Whisk in cheese until melted. Stir in spinach and egg. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
- Sauté shallots over medium heat in olive oil until softened.
- Add the mushrooms, then add the garlic and seasonings and cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the wine, chicken broth, and lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer about 8-10 minutes over medium heat until liquid is reduced by half. Take off heat and add the chicken.
- Assemble in oiled 9×13 baking dish as follows: Layer of lasagna noodles. Layer of bechamel, layer of sauce, layer of mozzarella. Follow with the same layering technique for two more layers. (You do not need to cover completely with béchamel or cheese each time, as these will spread during baking.) Over the top layer, spread the parmesan cheese and a little extra mozzarella.