Chicken Caesar…Lasagne

Yes, you read right. If there is a way to incorporate lots of cheese and general badness and salad, I will find it! I actually first tasted a similar take on this dish in New York – they used a tough, spaghetti-like pasta, layered with lots of cheese sauce and chicken and finished with a topping of caesar dressing, kale and toms. Here I’ve kind of mixed it all together. Sounds weird, tastes amazing. This is a really creamy dish, which carbonara and traditional lasagna lovers will go nuts for and it’s a pretty simple and filling dish to bung in the oven on a school night or if you’ve got people over.

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Serves 6-8

To make your sauce:

2 tablespoons butter (unsalted)

4 tablespoons plain flour

1 big mug of milk

4 or 5 heaped tablespoons cream cheese (Light Philly is best)

1/2 cup Caesar dressing (I use Hellmans, it comes in a bottle, usually found in the ketchup aisle)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Pinch of salt and pepper

Everything else:

9 lasagne sheets (unless you’re like me and stupidly use a circular dish, in which case you’ll need loads of weirdly broken up bits of lasagne sheet…)

3 cups cooked and sliced chicken

3 cups of Mozzarella (I used the grated stuff you get in bags but I’m sure sliced, fresh Mozz balls are best..)

3 cups of kale or spinach

1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes (with a bit of the oil they come in)

Just like with a traditional lasagne make the sauce first. This is a little different to Beschamel sauce but stick with it and keep tasting it and seasoning to get it just right. Melt your butter in a saucepan (I drizzle in some olive oil too, to stop it burning) on a medium heat and when it’s nearly all melted pop in your flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes while whisking away the lumps. Add your milk bit by bit, stirring the whole time. When all the milk is gone you should have a creamy and quite thin sauce. Now add your cream cheese, Parmesan and caesar dressing and whisk well until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Add the chicken and turn down the heat.

Now preheat the oven to around 275, grease your lasagne dish and lay down your first layer of lasagne sheets. Pour around half of the sauce and chicken over your sheets. Add half of the kale, half of the sundried tomatoes and oil and a cup of Mozzarella.

Cover with another layer of lasagne sheets and repeat with sauce, kale, tomatoes and mozzarella. If you have space in your dish to do another layer do so. Either way finish with a layer of lasagne sheets and the rest of your cheese and press the whole thing down so sauce spurts up the sides. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan and cover with a greased sheet of tin foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes and then another 5 minutes without the tin foil over it. If it still looks a bit anemic show it the grill for 5 minutes and it’ll brown nicely.

Let it cool for a few minutes and then slice away. This keeps well in the fridge and can be frozen so you can enjoy again for lunch tomorrow and the next day and the next day… believe me you’ll want to!

Psst… Sprinkle croutons or breadcrumbs on top of your lasagne for a little authentic Caesar crunch or serve with garlic bread.

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Freelance writer, eater, drinker and cook living in London.

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