Cucina Talina

There is nothing like delicious lasagne for a fun evening with friends. Comfort food with people you’re comfortable with! This evening I decided I would make a white lasagna, inspired by my time in Mozambique. While in Africa, there are definitely some things that you can’t find, like parmesan, or some things are just beyond expensive, like pine nuts. Thankfully, the organization I was working for in Mozambique had a garden with fresh basil, so I decided to make a different kind of lasagne. I was able to make pesto with basil, olive oil, lemon, garlic, almonds, and white cheddar. So, for the lasagne I layered béchamel, seasoned chicken, mozzarella, and pesto. Here is my recipe- Try it and impress all your friends the next time you have a get together!

Béchamel
1/2 stick of butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp nutmeg

Melt the butter in a sauce pan on medium heat. Add the flour and mix until it becomes a dough type consistency. Gradually whisk in the milk to the butter and flour mixture. Keep whisking until it gets thicker. This process will take between 3 – 5 minutes. Then add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and keep whisking until it is fully mixed.

Chicken
1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

In a medium saucepan heat the EVOO over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it is golden and aromatic. Add the ground chicken or turkey, whatever you prefer. Mix in and make sure its not very chunky. The less chunky the better. Add the salt, pepper, and oregano as the meat is cooking. Keep cooking the meat until it becomes a bit golden and then you’re done with the meat!

Pesto
2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup EVOO
1/2 cup white cheddar
1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
1/4 cup lemon juice (the equivalent of 1/2 a lemon)
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper

In a bowl or food processor, put all the ingredients in and pulse. If you don’t have a food processor, a hand blender will work too. If you don’t have either, finely chop the basil and put it in a bowl. Next, finely grate the white cheddar and add it to the basil. Finely chop the raw almonds and add it to the basil and cheddar. Next add the EVOO, lemon juice, salt and pepper and whisk it all together.

Assembling The Lasagne
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
1. Take an 9×13 baking pan and put a thin layer of béchamel.
2. Put lasagne noodles so they fully cover the bottom of the pan.
3. Put a layer of the seasoned chicken. I would say its about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of the seasoned chicken.
4. Add 2 cups of the béchamel sauce fully covering the chicken.
5. Put 4 Tbsp of pesto on top of the béchamel sauce.
6. Drizzle 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese.
7. Repeat steps 2 thru 6.
8. Add the last layer of lasagne noodles.
9. Top it off with a layer of béchamel sauce, another 4 Tbsp pesto, and a generous top layer of mozzarella cheese.
10. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
11. Take off the foil from the pan and bake for another 10 minutes until it has slightly golden edges.

 

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