Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pesto Chicken Lasagna with Artichokes and Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

I love tomato sauce. It goes on just about anything, your pasta dishes: spaghetti, lasagna, goulash; your meats: meatballs, chili, chicken Parmesan; and is great for dipping bread. But sometimes you just want something different, something other than yet another dish covered in tomato sauce. That's where this lasagna comes in. It has so many of my favorite foods in it: pesto, chicken, artichokes, fire-roasted tomatoes . . . oh so good.

12 lasagna noodles
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 14-oz can artichokes hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 14.5-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup prepared pesto (I used Knorr pesto sauce mix)
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried basil, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the noodles according to package directions. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, artichokes, fire-roasted tomatoes,and pesto. Set aside.

In another large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon basil, and milk.

Coat a little bit of the cheese mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Cover it with three lasagna noodles then add half of the chicken mixture on top and another layer of noodles. Add half of your cheese mixture, a layer of noodles, the rest of the chicken mixture, and then your last layer of noodles. Spread on the last half of the cheese mixture, sprinkle with remaining cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 tablespoon basil.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

I love when the people I cook for get excited about my food and help me come up with ways to make it better. When I first made this lasagna, we all agree it was good but still needed that oomph. Eric's mom suggested more pesto and fire-roasted tomatoes (which the recipe above reflects). I thought it needed more cheese (the recipe also reflects this). Even Eric's dad had a suggestion: replace the chicken with a spicy sausage. Next, time I will try this recipe with Eckrich Jalapeno and Cheddar Smoked Sausage. I think it'll be good. I would also like to try a version with sun-dried tomatoes instead of fire-roasted. When I was eating leftover lasagna, I added a couple dashes of hot sauce on top . . . very, very good.



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