Lemon adds a bright burst of flavor that goes equally well with chicken, spinach, pasta and cheese making it a natural fit for lasagna.
The sauce is like an alfredo only made with whole milk instead of heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, garlic and lemon juice. Cooked chicken and fresh baby spinach are mixed right in.
The sunny lemon is brought in again by way of lemon zest in the ricotta cheese along with an egg, fresh parsley and mozzarella.
I always say making lasagna is a labor of love because it can be time-consuming. I think this is one of my easier lasagna recipes especially if you have leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken to use.
I highly recommend using fresh noodles – look for them in the dairy section or the specialty Italian refrigerated area that is usually near the artisan cheeses.
The lemon adds a lightness so it doesn’t feel heavy like a traditional lasagna making it perfect anytime of the year.
- 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 2 cups cooked chopped chicken
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 + ½ cups fresh shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 12 ounces cooked lasagna noodles (or fresh - no need to cook first)
- In a large frying pan melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Sprinkle in the flour and stir 3 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the milk and turn the heat up to
medium - high. Bring to a simmer and cook 3 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, chickenand spinach. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool down then stir in the lemon juice. Taste and season well with salt and plenty of pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and set a baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any drips. Butter an 8x8 or 9x9-inch deep-sided baking pan or casserole.
- In a medium bowl mix the ricotta, ¾ cup mozzarella, the egg, parsley, zest and a couple pinches each of salt and pepper.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of sauce. Top with a layer of noodles, breaking them to fit. Drop half the ricotta mixture by the spoonful and gently spread out. Top with ⅓ of the remaining mozzarella.
- Add another layer of noodles and ⅓ of the chicken mixture, spreading it out.
- Repeat the layers again - top with noodles, the rest of the ricotta, ½ of the remaining mozzarella and another layer of noodles.
- Top with ½ of the remaining chicken another layer of noodles, the remaining chicken and the rest of the mozzarella.
- Bake 30 - 35 minutes until bubbly all over and golden. If the top starts to brown too much tent it loosely with foil.
- Let it set 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan.
Originally published on April 8, 2015.