Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Luscious, Decadent Lasagna (w/Chicken, Wild Mushrooms, and Fontina Cheese)

I tackled a new lasagna recipe by master chef/restaurateur  Daniel Boulud and it was ah-may-zing! It's in the February issue of Elle Decor, and you can find it here.
It took most of an afternoon to assemble, but it was worth it -- as it baked in the oven (and I started to realize how great it was going to be), we decided to invite some friends over for an impromptu dinner party.

The filling is basically a mirepoix of onion and celery that then has spinach and wild mushrooms and parsley mixed in.  You then add that to a lovely thick sauce made of chicken thighs, white wine, cream and milk and then stir in some parsley and nutmeg.

I used no-boil lasagna noodles, which saved some time, so if you do the same, just be sure to put a few tablespoons of chicken broth or cream on the bottom of the pan before you place your first layer of lasagna sheets so they soften completely. You'll also need to increase the covered baking time from 30 minutes to about 50. Otherwise, I followed everything exactly. I'm sure using regular lasagna makes for a more compact piece of lasagna, but I was really pleased with how mine turned out.

I created a monstrous but luscious stack of the pasta sheets, chicken mixture and layers of creamy Fontina cheese, repeating until I was afraid it would fall over, then topping with a last bit of Fontina and Parmesan.
Everyone loved it -- even our friend who abhors mushrooms liked it.  Chris thought it was delish, but said he'd like to try a version without the chicken. I kind of agree with him -- I'm not a huge fan of chicken thighs, and the recipe didn't say whether to remove all of the fat from the meat before browning, so I spent some time getting rid of most of it, before giving up. The meat shredded once I added the flour, so it might not have mattered.  However, a meatless version with double the veggies would be great, or perhaps chicken breast would be a good substitute for the thighs....
I served it with fresh green beans and grape tomatoes that I sautéed in butter and a squeeze of lemon until slightly tender and I also tossed some cauliflower and broccoli with some olive oil, coriander and garlic powder then roasted for about an hour until they were brown and buttery.  Chris made garlic toast from a loaf of homemade bread, and we drank a few bottles of crisp, dry white wine. (I also made a delectable cranberry, apple and pecan crumble, but that's a post for another day....)
It was a lovely meal, and I'm so glad to be able to add this recipe to my serve-to-company list. It took some time, but it wasn't difficult to make, so I suggest you try your hand at this lasagna asap. You just might find yourself throwing a last-minute soirée, too!

xoxo

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