Pesto Chicken Lasagna is a flavorful comforting meal that the whole family will love. Layers of pasta are spread with ricotta cheese, cooked ground chicken and a creamy béchamel sauce that gets some added flavor with the addition of basil pesto.
Lasagna is always an easy and fun way to feed a group. You can make it up to a day or two ahead of time, keep it covered in the refrigerator, and bake it when you are ready to serve it. It will take you some time to create all of the different components to put the lasagna together. Once that is done, the layering process goes very quickly.
If you are a fan of lasagna, check out Vegetable Lasagna. If you like the ingredients in a traditional lasagna but not the work, lasagna rolls are easy to make. Check out Lasagna Roll Ups for the recipe. Another way to enjoy lasagna ingredients is Lasagna Soup.
SOME THINGS TO KNOW:FAQ’S
- Make sure to cook the lasagna noodles until they’re just al dente. Overcooking can result in a mushy lasagna after baking.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
- Large Pot: For boiling the lasagna noodles.
- Large Skillet or Frying Pan: To sauté the ground chicken and garlic.
- Saucepan: To prepare the bechamel sauce.
- Whisk: Essential for ensuring your bechamel sauce is smooth and lump-free.
- Lasagna Pan or Baking Dish: A deep rectangular dish is typically used for layering and baking lasagna. 9×13 inches is a common size, but any similar-sized dish will work.
- Cheese Grater: If your cheeses are not pre-grated.
- Rubber Spatula: Helpful for layering ingredients and scraping out sauces.
- Aluminum Foil: Useful for covering the lasagna during the first half of baking to prevent it from browning too quickly.
- If you are not a fan of basil, you could use another kind of pesto in the recipe. Check out Mint Pesto and 11 Pesto Varieties for some other options.
- If you do not want to use dry lasagna noodles that need to be cooked, you can use fresh lasagna sheets or no boil lasagna noodles. Just make sure that you have enough to make 3 layers of pasta in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
- If you want a heavier pesto white sauce, replace some of the milk in the sauce with heavy cream.
- If you prefer dark meat chicken, you can substitute boneless chicken thighs for the breasts to create the ground chicken. You could also purchase ground chicken or ground turkey for the recipe.
- If you do not have fresh garlic cloves you can substitute garlic powder. Use about ¼ teaspoon for each clove or jarred minced garlic.
- Butter can be substituted with margarine or any cooking oil.
- Mozzarella Cheese can be substituted with Provolone cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or a dairy-free mozzarella alternative.
- Grated Parmesan cheese can be substituted with grated Asiago cheese or Romano cheese.
HOW TO STORE PESTO CHICKEN LASAGNA:
- Place any leftover lasagna tightly covered or in an airtight container into the refrigerator for 2-3 days.Before storing, allow the lasagna to cool to room temperature. This can take around 30 minutes to an hour.
- You can freeze any leftover in an airtight freezer container for 2-3 months.
HOW TO REHEAT PESTO CHICKEN LASAGNA:
- To reheat the lasagna in the oven, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Remove the plastic wrap from the lasagna and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until heated through. If you’d like to brown the top, remove the foil for the last 10 minutes.
- To reheat the lasagna in the microwave, place a piece of lasagna on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. Heat on medium power for 2-3 minutes, then check. Continue heating in 1-minute increments until heated through.
- Check out How to Reheat Lasagna to reheat leftovers in either the microwave or oven.
Pesto Chicken LasagnaPrint This
- 15 dried lasagna noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound chicken breasts, ground in food processor
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- ½ cup pesto sauce
- 15 ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 3 cup mozzarella cheese
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large pot of water on high heat until it comes to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles to the boiling water in the pot. Stir the noodles for a minute or two to keep them moving and separate. A full box of lasagna noodles will have 18 noodles. Although you only need 15 noodles to make the lasagna, you might want to cook them all. The noodles can tear during the cooking process.
Cook the lasagna noodles according to the directions on the package for al dente less three minutes. If the package says 11 minutes, cook the noodles for 8 minutes. Baking the lasagna later on will finish the process of cooking the noodles.
Drain the noodles. Rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set the noodles to the side.
Next, you will assemble the different components of the lasagna.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
Place the ground chicken into the pan. Cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes, stirring often so it cooks evenly, until it starts to lose its pinkness. Break up any large chunks of chicken with a rubber spatula. You want the chicken to be smooth crumbles.
Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often for an additional 2 minutes. The chicken should be completely cooked through and lightly browned. Set the chicken to the side.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Do not let it boil. Once it is hot, reduce the burner to the low heat setting to keep it warm.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add the flour to the pan and whisk it thoroughly into the butter. Keep whisking it for an additional minute so the flour cooks slightly.
Add one cup of the hot milk to the flour mixture and whisk it in completely.
Add a second cup of the hot milk, whisking it in thoroughly and then whisk in the third cup of milk.
Continue whisking until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken over medium heat. You want to achieve a smooth sauce.
Whisk the pesto into the sauce.
Take the saucepan off the burner and set it to the side.
Taste the sauce and add a bit of kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
Place the ricotta cheese into a medium bowl.
Crack the egg and add it to the ricotta.
Add ½ cup of the parmesan cheese to the bowl.
Add the parsley to the bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until they are thoroughly combined.
Set the cheese mixture to the side.
Spoon a couple large spoonfuls of creamy white sauce into the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ ovenproof dish. Spread the sauce out very thinly to cover the entire bottom of the baking dish.
Place 5 of the lasagne noodles into the baking dish. You want them to be in a single layer, with the edges of the noodles slightly overlapping.
Spoon half of the ricotta mixture over the layer of noodles. Use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly over the noodles.
Divide the cooked chicken in half. Spoon one half of the chicken over the ricotta to create a layer of chicken.
Spoon one third of the pesto sauce over the chicken layer. Spread it out evenly.
Sprinkle one third of the mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce.
Repeat the process. Add another layer of 5 lasagna noodles. the other half of the ricotta cheese, the remaining chicken mixture, one third of the sauce and one third of the mozzarella.
Add the last 5 lasagna noodles over the sauce. Layer noodles slightly overlapping to cover the top.
Add the remaining one third of the pesto sauce to the top of the lasagna. Spread the sauce evenly over the noodles, covering the entire top.
Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese and the other ½ cup of the parmesan evenly over the top of the lasagna.
Cover the top of the lasagna loosely with aluminum foil. Do not press it down or it will stick to the cheese.
Bake the lasagna covered on the top rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.
Oven temperatures can vary so you may need a bit less or more baking time. You want the lasagna to be golden brown on the top and bubbling on the sides.
Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
Pesto Chicken Lasagna is a great way to feed a group.