I am what many would call a "Foodie" - amateurs who simply love food and/or drink for consumption, study, preparation and news.
Now the statement above should make it clear that I do not have any formal training when it comes to food preparation. I have, however, been told that I am a pretty good cook and I hope you enjoy reading this column as much as I enjoy writing it.
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I love when people want me to try a new recipe then bring me a sample to try so I don’t have to make it right away. This is one of those recipes. It was given to me by Sharon Millway who saw it on Facebook and decided to try it. It comes from thekitchn.com and is a great alternative to the traditional red sauce lasagna.
Chicken and Mushroom Lasagna
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (any mushrooms will do)
1 small onion, diced
2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine
3 cups cooked and shredded chicken (equivalent of 1 rotisserie chicken)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups warmed milk (whole milk suggested)
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon dry sherry or Marsala (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
16 lasagna noodles (about a 1 pound box)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups grated gruyere cheese (Fontina or Swiss would also work)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13½-by-9½ casserole dish or lasagna pan and bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil cook the noodles to al dente and set aside on a lightly greased sheet pan to prevent sticking.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat then add the mushrooms and sauté about 4 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes then add the wine and bring to a boil. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated and transfer the mushroom mixture to a separate bowl along with the shredded chicken.
To make the béchamel (white sauce), add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the pot and melt over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a rue and continue cooking about a minute or two to remove the raw taste. Pour in the milk and chicken stock and cook, whisking often until the mixture has thickened about 10-12 minutes. Whisk in the salt, mustard powder, sherry and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, followed by ¼ cup of the grated Parmesan. Fold the chicken and mushroom mixture into the béchamel sauce and taste to adjust seasoning (I like to add a big handful of fresh spinach here). In a separate bowl, combine the mozzarella, gruyere and remaining ¾ cup Parmesan cheese.
Start assembling the lasagna, by arranging four noodles on the bottom of the prepared baking sheet, followed by 1 cup of the chicken and mushroom mixture and topping with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the remaining cheese on top.
Bake, uncovered, until the lasagna is hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
The lasagna can be assembled and refrigerated up to 24 hours in advance; just add 15 minutes to the cooking time when ready to bake. It can also be frozen for up to three months; wrap the lasagna pan in foil and freeze until solid. To cook, bake the frozen lasagna, covered, for 1 hour, 15 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 30 to 45 minutes until heated through.