Lasagna with Chicken and Pepper Sauces Recipe
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Lasagna with Chicken and Pepper Sauces

PEPPER SAUCE:
6 red bell peppers
6 yellow bell peppers
4 cans canned Italian plum tomatoes (2-lb cans)
1 tablespoon fresh herbs - savory, sage, thyme or rosemary - minced
4 onions
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley -- chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt
fresh ground black pepper

CHICKEN SAUCE:
4 onions
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley -- chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil -- chopped
6 pounds chicken breasts -- boneless & skinless
Salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 pound prosciutto -- sliced
1/2 pound butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup white flour
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream

NOODLES AND CHEESE
4 pounds fresh spinach lasagna
1/2 pound Parmesan cheese (about 1 2/3 cups) -- grated
2 pounds Fontina cheese

PREPARATION: For the Pepper Sauce, halve and seed the peppers and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Seed and chop the tomatoes, reserving 1 cup of juice. Mince 1 tablespoon herbs.

For both the Pepper and the Chicken Sauce, mince the 8 onions, 9 cloves garlic. Chop 1 cup parsley and 1/2 cup basil.

For the Pepper Sauce, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add half
of the onions and the peppers and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Add the tablespoon of minced herbs and half of the garlic, parsley, and basil and cook about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and reserved cup of juice and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Season to taste.

The Pepper Sauce can be made a week ahead.

For the Chicken Sauce, trim the chicken breasts of fat and connective
tissue and season with salt and pepper. Cut the prosciutto into 1/2-inch pieces.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sear the chicken about 2 minutes a side until well browned, cooking in batches to avoid overcrowding. Reduce heat, return all chicken to pan, and simmer until barely cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch dice.

In the same frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and briefly sauté the ham and the remaining garlic, parsley, and basil until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add to chicken.

In the same pan used to cook the chicken and ham, heat remaining 6 oz. of butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the remaining onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 4 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly. Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken mixture and heavy cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chicken Sauce can be made several days ahead.

Boil the spinach lasagna noodles according to package directions and cook until tender. If using fresh, cook in batches for about 2 minutes. Remove lasagna to a large bowl of cold water to stop the cooking, then to a damp towel.

Grate Parmesan and fontina cheeses. Butter four 9- by 13-inch lasagna pans or large oval pans. Pour a layer of the Pepper Sauce into each pan. Put a layer of the lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, overlapping slightly. Add a layer of the Chicken Sauce, then a layer of Parmesan and fontina cheeses, and another layer of pasta. Repeat process 3 more times, ending with Pepper Sauce and cheeses. Cover with foil.

Lasagna can be made to this point a day ahead.

COOKING AND SERVING: Heat oven to 375°F. Bake lasagna in preheated oven until cooked through, about 45 minutes. Allow lasagna to rest for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

AUTHOR: Lori A



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