Chicken and Spinach Lasagna
Layered with chicken, spinach, ricotta and Parmesan, this lasagna is a bit lighter than a traditional version packed with pork and beef, but it’s still rich and cheesy enough to play a starring role at an Italian-themed dinner party. It’s also simple enough to make for a weeknight meal, thanks to a smart shortcut: our organic tomato basil pasta sauce. We like to use homemade fresh pasta sheets for their tender bite and so that we can easily cut them to the size we need, but no-boil noodles will work as well. And although we’ve used a tomato-shaped enameled cast-iron oven here for a pretty presentation, any baking dish with a roughly 3-quart (3-l) capacity will work.
- 1 lb. (500 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups (4 oz./125 g) spinach leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 1/2 cups (1 1/4 lb./625 g) ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) chopped fresh basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
- 1 jar (1 lb. 9 oz./709 g) tomato basil pasta sauce
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) fresh pasta, cut into lasagna noodles, or 1/2 lb. (250 g) no-boil lasagna noodles
- 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a simmer over high heat. Add the chicken, adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a bare simmer, and poach until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand until cool enough to handle. Using a fork or your fingers, shred the chicken into small pieces. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, basil, spinach mixture and chicken. Spread half of the pasta sauce on the bottom of a 3-quart (3-l) baking dish, then arrange a single layer of lasagna noodles on the sauce, cutting or breaking them as needed to fit to the edges of the dish. Top with one-third of the ricotta mixture, then sprinkle with about 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) of the mozzarella. Layer the noodles, ricotta mixture and mozzarella 2 more times, then top with a final layer of noodles. Spread the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) mozzarella.
Bake the lasagna, uncovered, until the pasta is tender and the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then garnish with basil leaves and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen