Party Panache, Sophisticated White Lasagna

Did you cook something special for Valentine’s Day? We had a family dinner party to celebrate both Valentines Day and HHjr’s birthday.  I wanted to make a casserole ahead of time and decided on this White Lasagna, made with chicken, spinach and a white cheese sauce.  It was SWOON worthy! Even HH commented on how good it was, you know, Mr. “”I hate lasagna!”

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I froze some Valentine cheese muffins several weeks ago because I knew this week would be hectic. For the muffin recipe and more photos click here

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With a romaine salad tossed with fresh strawberries, and some French string beans with almonds, our feast was complete.  I could have made a traditional lasagna which would of course be a tasty treat, but this White Lasagna turned traditional into Special Occasion!

I found several recipes on Pinterest that I used as a guide, and combined several to come up with my recipe. One of the recipes is from Tieghan over at Half Baked Harvest. I was going to make it per her directions, but as usual I drifted off on my own path, so click here if you want to see her recipe & method.

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I used no boil Lasagna noodles.  These are so great to use when your dish is going to sit overnight because they will automatically start softening while they are waiting to bake.  I like them also because they are thin, so your casserole is not loaded with thick heavy pasta sheets.  Plus, using these eliminates one whole time consuming step!

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I got one of my typically brilliant ideas and decided to try to skip another step too…

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I thought, why not saute the chicken in the melted butter before I used it to make the white cheese sauce?

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BAD IDEA, it just sort of poached in all that butter, so I removed it to a hot skillet and gave it a quick saute over medium high heat.  Much better!  You never know though, right?

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The white cheese sauce was so easy, after melting the butter you toss in the onion and garlic and cook it a few minutes until soft and then add the flour.

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Stir in the flour and then add the milk and broth.

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Bring that mixture to a boil and cook and stir for one minute.

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Toss in the cheese and seasonings, stir and remove from heat.  In no time the cheese melts and you have a lovely white cheesy sauce! Easy peasy.

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No, this is NOT ice cream.  It’s ricotta cheese and I decided to mix it with the spinach and a little Parmesan to make it easier to work with. One of the recipes called for layering the spinach, ricotta and chicken in separate layers, but I like it mixed it together with the spinach and Parmesan for a more even flavor.

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Start the assembly by putting about 1/4 of the sauce in the bottom of your prepared dish.  I used a deep 9″ square casserole because it was red with white polka dots, HELLO, perfect for Valentine’s Day, but you can use a 9 x 13 or whatever you like.

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Use broken noodles to fill in the gaps so you have a full even layer.

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Top the noodle layer with 1/2 of the shredded chicken

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and 1/2 of the spinach ricotta mix. Then top with 1/4 of the sauce and repeat.

Top this final layer with another layer of noodles,

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the remaining 1/4 cup of sauce

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and sprinkle with cheeses.

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At this point you can refrigerate overnight.  IF YOU CAN STAND IT!

 

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Bake at 350, uncovered until hot and bubbly!

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Look at those lucious layers!  The party’s over, but there is enough left for some extra special leftovers.

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Note: Originally I was going to use chopped artichokes in this lasagna along with the spinach, which would make it sort of like “Spinach & Artichoke Dip Lasagna.” I decided I wanted to serve artichokes as an appetizer instead because they are HHjr’s absolute favorite, but I highly recommend adding them to this recipe if you like them. Yum!

Here’s the recipe:

SOPHISTICATED WHITE LASAGNA  for a printable version click here

1/2 (1 stick) cup butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth can be used)
1 cup chopped or grated Fontina cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 package frozen spinach thawed and drained
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
3 cups cooked chicken, I used about 9 chicken tenders
9-12 lasagna noodles, I used no boil
Additional grated white cheeses for topping, I used Swiss and Parmesan

Prepare a 9 x 13 or deep 9”square baking dish with cooking oil spray.  Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Saute the onion and garlic until onion is soft and translucent. Whisk in the flour and then add milk and chicken broth. Add seasonings, bring to a boil and cook for about 1 minute.  Add the Fontina and Parmesan, stir to melt cheese and set sauce aside. In a medium bowl combine the ricotta cheese, spinach and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Mix until combined.

Spread 1/4 of the cheese sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with 3-4 lasagna noodles, arranging in a flat layer. Top with 1/2 of the chicken, 1/2 of the ricotta spinach mix, then top with another 1/4 of the sauce. Repeat. Top the second layer with another layer of lasagna noodles and the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with a little more cheese on top.  At this point the dish can be refrigerated overnight, covered with foil.

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, until bubbly and golden.  If dish has been refrigerated adjust cooking time, it might need a little longer.

MAIN bktThis recipe is on the February Paint Bucket as LASAGNA WITH SPINACH, CHICKEN & ARTICHOKE

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Comments
5 Responses to “Party Panache, Sophisticated White Lasagna”
  1. Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen says:

    Oh My Goodness that looks tasty! I love white lasagna! Boy this must be good with a whole stick of butter! Wow Wee

    Like

  2. I just pinned it! I am going to give it a whirl!!!

    Like

  3. Linda says:

    wow. That is a complete meal. Love the chicken. Thanks for sharing this. I’m pinning it also. Linda

    Like

  4. Ann Drake says:

    I love white lasagna…this looks so perfectly wonderful!

    Like

  5. Nici says:

    This looks incredible! I’m pinning to try it later. Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings,
    Nici

    Like

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