Lasagna therapy for cooking stress
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
5/02/12 at 4:55 AM
Cooking stresses me out.
Not enough not to do it - obviously, considering my girth. But the whole time I'm in the kitchen, I'm worried that I'm going to slice a digit off or, worse yet, ruin the dish I'm attempting to make. Then, I'll spiral out of control and end up on the phone with Mazzio's, crying, "I've ruined dinner! Save me with your extra large pepperoni!!!" Sorry, that sounded bad.
Anyway, as I stayed home Sunday, I decided to create a dinner based around the package of lasagna noodles I found in my pantry. At first, I thought about being lazy, just boiling them and putting a couple pats of butter on top. The end.
But then I thought a white lasagna - what more cultured people apparently refer to as "lasagna blanco" or, if they're feeling more feminine, "lasagna blanca" - would be terrific.
I have some frozen sausage, but chicken sounded healthier. Not that it mattered because I was totally going to dump 2 pounds of shredded Parmesan and mozzarella between the meat and noodle layers.
Other than the requisite spices, all I needed was an alfredo sauce. Well, my version of it, anyway. See, I tend to burn sauces, which is why I always doctor up stuff from a jar.
But I wanted things to be more authentico - or authentica - so I made my own. And it actually turned out OK. Granted, the 2 pounds of cheese probably overpowered what was probably a weak sauce. But whatever, I had two helpings of it, then had leftovers for work-day lunches.
Here's my recipe, a variation on the Lasagna Blanca I found from Better Homes & Gardens' website, plus a low-fat alfredo tweaked from foodnetwork.com:
JASON ASHLEY'S LASAGNA BLANCO WITH ARTICHOKES AND 'SHROOMS
Makes 8-12 servings
For the alfredo sauce:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (Don't use lemon juice.)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 cup low-fat milk (I used skim, and it still turned out well.)
2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup (or more) grated Parmesan cheese
For the lasagna:
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced (I usually saute mine on the stove top with a little onion and garlic.)
1/2 cup white onion
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Parmesan, shredded
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 package lasagna noodles, boiled (I used 15 noodles - five for each layer.)
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms (or two small cans)
1 jar artichoke hearts, drained
1. In a large skillet with a little olive oil, cook chicken and onion until chicken is cooked through; drain well. Stir in garlic powder and pepper; set aside.
2. For sauce, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and lemon zest, and cook until the garlic is slightly soft, about 1 minute. Add in flour, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, 1 minute. Whisk in milk and 3/4 teaspoon salt; cook, whisking constantly, until just thickened, about 3 minutes. Add cream cheese and Parmesan; whisk until melted, about 1 minute. Set aside.
3. Grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside. Then add the mushrooms and artichokes to the alfredo sauce (unless you want to wait a step and add them a third at a time like you do the other stuff below).
4. Boil noodles per package directions. Apply one layer of noodles in the baking dish, then use a third of chicken-onion mixture, followed by a third of alfredo with the 'shrooms and 'chokes, then a third of your mozz-Parm supply. Repeat that three times. In the baking dish, not verbally (although it's still cumbersome to say fast).
5. I baked mine for 30-35 minutes at 325, uncovered. The Better Homes & Gardens folk recommended it covered at 350 for 40 minutes in their version, but mine turned out fabulously, so whatever.
6. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Creamy white artichoke lasagna Courtesy