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Chicken Pesto Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower

Have I mentioned that I'm growing herbs? I am. All kinds. It's been a fun thing to do during the pandemic - keeps you busy and keeps you stocked with all those yummy ingredients that add so much flavor to your food.


This lasagna was inspired by my garden. All that fresh basil was poppin' the other day and visions of a pesto pasta dish popped right into my head. So, voila!


This Chicken Pesto Lasagna is D-lish! I've made pesto lasagna's before, but not like this one. I had some extra cauliflower and spinach in the fridge and thought they'd the perfect additions...and I was right!


Roasted cauliflower might be one of my favorite things to eat. I'm always looking for ways to sneak it in to dishes. I also like to sneak in spinach - gotta get those greens! They add great flavor and really help to thicken up that pesto mixture in the best possible way.


This was a real winner in our house and I hope it is in yours!

Enjoy!

Chicken Pesto Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours and 5 minutes

Servings: 10-12


INGREDIENTS:


1lb chicken breast, chopped into bite size pieces

1lb cauliflower florets

Spinach, roughly 3 handfuls

Fresh Pasta, cut into long sheets (or store bought!)

2 cups basil pesto sauce

3 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 sweet yellow onion, minced

3 Calabrian chilies, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced + separated

1/3 cup dry white wine

8oz low moisture mozzarella, shredded

8oz non-smoked provolone, shredded

2 tsp fresh thyme, minced

2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

2 tsp fresh oregano, minced

2 cups ricotta

15-20 fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin strips + separated

1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

Pine nuts

salt + pepper


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make the fresh pasta and let it rest while you're prepping the other lasagna elements. It's okay to sit out at room temperature. Here's my recipe. When it comes time to roll the pasta into sheets, you should only need to cut off the ends to make a rectangle shape, and then cut the sheets to fit the length of your dish.

  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

  3. Lay the cauliflower florets onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil over the top, about 1/4 cup, season with salt + pepper and then toss the cauliflower to thoroughly coat. It's okay to toss with just your hands! Bake the cauliflower until golden brown, about 25 minutes. About halfway through, stir the cauliflower so that it gets toasted on all sides. Remove, set aside and let cool. When cooled, place cauliflower in food processor and slowly pulse until it's slightly broken down and no longer in large pieces. Don't process until smooth. About 3-4 hits on the pulse button should do it.

  4. While the cauliflower is roasting heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. When it shimmers, at the onions. Cook until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the calabrian chilies, thyme, rosemary and 2 garlic cloves (minced) and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  5. Add the wine and cook until reduced, about 3-4 minutes.

  6. Add the chicken. Saute for about 5 minutes.

  7. Start adding the pesto sauce a little bit at a time. I did about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup every 4-5 minutes. Toss everything together each time you add more pesto. In the end, you want to have added 1-3/4 cup of the pesto sauce.

  8. Add spinach and cauliflower to the chicken pesto mixture and stir until combined and cook until spinach has lost its shape.

  9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt water when water is boiling.

  10. Roll, shape and cook your pasta. Set aside and allow to cool so you can work with it. 

  11. In a bowl, combine ricotta, 1 garlic clove (minced), oregano, 3/4 of the basil leaves and 1/8 tsp of pesto.

  12. Mix shredded mozzarella and provolone together in a bowl until well combined.

  13. Assemble your lasagna. Put a small amount of the chicken pesto mixture on the base of the dish so that the bottom is just coated. Place lasagna sheets on top, followed by a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture (about 1/2 the mixture), a layer of the chicken pesto mixture (about 1/2 the mixture), top with mozzarella/provolone mixture (about half) and sprinkle with pine nuts. Repeat layering once more. Top with remaining cheese, sprinkle parmesan cheese and add dollops of the remaining pesto sauce.

  14. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cheese should be cooked and top should be golden brown.

  15. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.

  16. Garnish with remaining basil leaf strips and top with pine nuts. Enjoy!


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