Last night was the closing night of the show Dogfight that Marc and I have been working on. Where there’s a closing night, there is always a fun (and emotional) party that follows to cap off the run of the show and allow everyone to hang out as a cast and crew one last time. One of our leading men was awesome enough to open his house to everyone for the festivities and it went into the wee hours of the morning. I decided to make a main course to bring to the party that was make ahead and easily transported, and a big tray of these chicken florentine lasagna rolls fit the bill perfectly. Lasagna rolls are my go to dish for entertaining because they can feed a crowd, are easy to serve, and the filling possibilities are endless.
This was where the make ahead magic happened. Once the tray was ready, I just covered it and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next night I brought it to the party and put it into the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes to heat it through and melt the cheese. Then I took it out and we all started chowing down on the massive feast that everyone brought. After an exhausting (in the best way) show everyone was starving! I loved how these chicken florentine lasagna rolls easily helped feed a big crowd and was so simple to put together. Enjoy, friends!
- 1 dash olive oil
- 7 whole boneless skinless chicken tenders diced small
- 14 whole grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 an onion finely diced
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves removed from the stems and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- salt as needed for seasoning
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper
- 1 pinch dried oregano
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves packed
- 20 whole dry lasagna noodles
- 2 containers ricotta cheese 15 oz size
- 1 whole egg
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 recipe bechamel sauce *see post from 3/28
- 1 cup freshly grated asiago cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Get a large pot of water on the stove to boil for the lasagna and salt it generously. While it comes to a boil, prepare the chicken filling. In a large cast iron skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the diced chicken and let it cook through for about 5 minutes, then add the grape tomatoes, onion, garlic, rosemary, a pinch of salt, the pinch of crushed red pepper and dried oregano. Let the veggies soften for a minute with the chicken and then deglaze the pan with the white wine. Let the wine cook off for a couple of minutes. Take the pan off of the heat and stir in the spinach to let it gently wilt into the mixture. Set the mixture aside to cool for a couple of minutes.
- Cook the lasagna in the boiling water for about 8-10 minutes, until it is tender. While the lasagna cooks, stir the ricotta, egg, nutmeg, cooled chicken mixture and a big pinch of salt together thoroughly in a big bowl to finish the filling. Take a large lasagna pan and lightly grease the bottom with a little of the bechamel sauce.
- The lasagna noodles should be about done at this point, drain them and quickly separate them before they start to stick together. Lay them out on a clean work surface. Evenly spread a 1/4 cup of the chicken florentine filling along the length of each noodle, then roll them up tight and place them seam side down in the prepared lasagna pan. Pour the rest of the bechamel sauce evenly over the top of each noodle, then sprinkle a generous top layer of the freshly grated asiago cheese.
- At this point, the tray of lasagna rolls can be covered and refrigerated overnight for an easy make ahead meal. When it is about time to serve, get the tray into a 350 oven to bake for about 25-30 minutes to let it bubble and heat through completely. Take it out when it's done, let it cool for a minute, and then serve immediately!