Lasagne (With Spinach, Mushrooms & Chicken)
Recipe Source: My friend Jen
- 200gms chicken mince OR 1 medium size can of chicken/pork cocktail sausages
- 1 bunch spinach (palak)
- 1 pack of button mushrooms (abt 15-20) sliced (I totally enjoy slicing mushrooms – find this very therapeutic 🙂
- 4-5 lasagne sheets
- 100gms Parmesan/cheddar cheese (you can grate as much cheese as you like per layer or use this just for the top surface)
- 100gms mozzarella cheese (you will require sufficient mozzarella cheese for the layers – use as much as you wish if you prefer a ‘cheesy’ lasagne)
For the Red (Tomato) Sauce:
- 3 large tomatoes
- 3 tbsp tomato paste (Godrej/Dabur Hommade/Lacnor)
- 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1 tsp pepper powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1-2 tsp paprika (chilli flakes)
- 1/4 tsp rosemary (or any dried herb)
- 1/4 tsp thyme (or any dried herb)
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- olive oil
For the White (Bechamel) Sauce:
- 2 cups milk
- 3 tbsp flour (maida)
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
- 1/2 tsp pepper powder (or to taste)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
To make the red sauce:
1. Place some water in a small pan & bring it to a boil. Add the tomatoes & blanch them well (for about 7-8minutes). Remove and place in cold water & peel off the skin. Make a puree out of it using a fork or a masher. Set aside.
2. In a large pan/wok heat some olive oil and fry the chopped onions till pale. Toss in the chopped garlic, stir for a few seconds & then add the pureed tomatoes, tomato ketchup & paste & cook for 2mins till oil leaves the sides.
3. Toss in the pepper powder, paprika, oregano and the herbs. Stir & cook for 1 minute
4. Add the sliced mushrooms, stir well, cover & cook for about 5minutes, stirring every now & then. They should appear limp but not mushy.
To make the white sauce:
1. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg powder) in a bowl & add the milk to it and mix well to avoid any lumps.
2. Heat a wide wok/pan and add the butter, when it melts add the milk+flour mixture and cook on slow flame for about 2-3 minutes. Keep stirring to avoid lumps. Your sauce is done
3. To this sauce you can add precooked (boiled) chicken mince like I did for this recipe.
4. You can either add preboiled spinach to this sauce or use the spinach by itself during the layering
To prepare the lasagne sheets:
1. In a wide pan take sufficient water (about 6-7 cups) and bring it to a boil. Alternatively cut the sheets to the length that fits your baking dish.
2. When the water boils, add some salt and drop the sheets one by one. Give it a stir. Cook for about 3-4 minutes till 90% done
2. Drain & refresh with cold water, add a drop of oil to the water & stir gently to ensure the sheets do not stick to each other. You can leave them in the cold water or remove each sheet & place them on separate plates – be careful not to tear them (I left my sheets in the water – the first time around they were perfect, the second time they tore a bit because I missed to stir them in the cold water)
For the layering:
1. Take a square/rectangular baking dish (glass dish looks nice & fancy, but any thick bakeware will do) and place the first layer of cooked lasagne sheets. My dish was square – the only one small enough to fit into my tiny oven. I used two sheets per layer – side by side, but not necessarily two whole sheets as each sheet had to be cut to fit the length so I made use of the snipped off ends – so you see, no wastage in that department!
2. Spread some red sauce nicely over the first layer and grate some parmesan cheese over it – you can grate as much cheese as you like per layer.
3. Next, place two more sheets – this is your second layer. Spread the boiled spinach (if you have not added it to the white sauce). Grate some more cheese.
4. Place two more sheets – this is your third layer. Spread the white sauce. Grate the cheese
5. Repeat layering process till all your sauces/sheets are exhausted.
6. The top layer will not have any sauce – you can just grate a lot of cheddar cheese here.
Tip: Once you are done with the layering, you can place the dish in the fridge if you plan to bake it later. Always bake your lasagne 15-20 minutes before you are ready to serve. It is best enjoyed when it is fresh from the oven & piping hot.
7. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes till the cheese on top melts & dribbles into the lasagne
8. Remove from oven, cut into thick chunks & serve carefully to ensure that the layers don’t topple over.