Lasagna is always a food my family requests over and over again. It is a true comfort food with tons of flavor and I have made pans and pans for parties, family gatherings, private chefing and holidays. What makes lasagna so spectacular is the layers and layers of cheeses, tangy sauce and pasta. This Spring, I thought I would freshen it up a bit with chicken and pesto for nice seasonal flair.
Pesto is a delicious combination of basil, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan, pureed until smooth. I have a pesto recipe on my blog made with basil and beet greens for a fun twist, which works perfectly in this recipe. As far as cheese, use good Parmesan, whole milk ricotta and mozzarella for a creamy consistency.
Making this Chicken Pesto Lasagna is fairly easy, especially with no-bake lasagna noodles – you skip the boiling process. And, if you are not up to making your own pesto, store bought is a good option, but there is nothing like fresh pesto. This lasagna makes a full pan, so invite some friends and have a little family-style dinner party.
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 lemon, sliced
1/4 cup fresh herbs, basil, parsley or thyme
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
8 ounces pesto, homemade or store-bought
12 ounces mozzarella, shredded (about 3 cups)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup half & half
1. Preheat the oven to 375. In a skillet, add the chicken breasts, sliced lemon and fresh herbs. Add enough water to the pan to come up half-way and place over medium heat. When simmering, turn the heat to low, and cover with lid. Cook for 12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the heat and cool. When ready to handle, shred chicken.
2. In a 4-quart casserole dish, layer 3 no boil noodles. Dollop with pesto and ricotta and sprinkle the chicken and mozzarella. Repeat this step and top the entire lasagna with Parmesan. Pour the half & half over the entire lasagna.
3. Cover the lasagna with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 8 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown.
4. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve immediately, enjoy!