LA-LA-LA lovely, deep, rich, hedonistic lasagna crowded with tender chicken, garden fresh asparagus and zucchini, oozing with the smooth decadence of buttery hollandaise, melty mozzarella and tangy nutty asiago. Oooh la la!
This is another recipe borrowed from the Best of Bridge ladies. Over the years from the red, to the green, the black, to the blue, Canada's favorite cookbook series, The Best of Bridge has been where I have found so many of my old, stand-by recipes.
Some recipes I leave just as they are, but some of the Best of Bridge recipes, because I make them so often they have become second nature to me, I change. Usually I keep the Best of Bridge 'roots' and then let my creative juices flow to discover whole new dishes. What was once old becomes new again. Deliciously so.
Precisely how "Death to Dieters Chicken Lasagne" became The Last Wonton's oft and heartily requested, "Deep-Dish Chicken Asparagus Lasagna". I felt the need to let the inner foodie in me run wild, architecturally creating new layers, using more noodles and a few zip, zaps of flavour enhanced ingredients until I hit paydirt with more mmmm's per mouthful than ever before.
So, by very popular demand, here it is, one of the recipes I get asked for more than any of the others. Try it as is, flip back to the old original in the green "Winners" Best of Bridge or have your way with it and make it your own.
DEEP-DISH DECADENT CHICKEN ASPARAGUS LASAGNA
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large Vidalia, Walla Walla, Maui or other sweet onion, chopped
3 cups zucchini, cut in quarters lengthwise, then sliced into about 1/2-inch thick pieces
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 packages Knorr Hollandaise sauce, prepared according to package directions (with butter and milk)
4 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 good size bunches fresh asparagus, about 3 pounds total, cleaned, bottoms broken off
3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and fairly thinly sliced
1 pound full flavoured Mozzarella cheese, cut into tiny cubes
1/4 pound Asiago cheese
1 pound package lasagna noodles, cooked just barely al dente, rinsed with cold water
I like to make this lasagna the day ahead and refrigerate overnight so I'm ready to go on dinner party day. So I cook and prepare the ingredients for the various layers and let everything cool to room temperature before putting the lasagna together. Works like a charm everytime.
Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and saute for 5-10 minutes until softened and starting to get a good caramely colour. Toss in zucchini, basil, oregano and salt and pepper to taste, stirring to combine. Saute another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir in flour and let bubble for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Whisk in milk, reduce heat to medium. Stir or whisk until bubbles just break the surface and mixture has thickened. Add Worcestershire sauce, grated Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine, remove from heat and set aside.
Steam or blanch asparagus for about 4 minutes until just al dente. Rinse immediately with very cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well. Set aside.
This lasagna is 'high', so you need to use a deep (high edged) approximately 9 x 13-inch (4 litre) baking dish or roasting pan. Smear a small amount of the Parmesan white sauce over the bottom of the dish and place a layer of noodles on top. Cover with half of the chicken pieces, half of the sauteed veggies and half of the mozzarella cubes. Top with another layer of noodles, then half of the asparagus and half of the hollandaise. Repeat these 2 layers, topping with another layer of noodles. Smooth the remaining Parmesan white sauce over the top layer the noodles and sprinkle evenly and generously with grated Asiago. Refrigerate overnight or until ready to bake.
Remove lasagna from fridge about 2 hours before baking to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly and gloriously toasting golden brown on top. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into 12-16 pieces.