This dish was inspired by my Great-Great Aunt Olive’s “Stuffed Shells” recipe. I never met her, but I used to make her stuffed shells all the time. Then when we switched to whole foods I quickly learned that it’s nearly impossible to find whole-wheat jumbo pasta shells for some reason. So here is her recipe, re-invented into an even quicker and easier lasagna version. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does, and here’s a tip…make this dish in advance and either freeze or refrigerate the casserole prior to the baking step for an easy dinner!
White Chicken Lasagna
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
- 3 cups milk
The Filling (and Noodles)
- 8 oz whole-wheat lasagna
- 2 cups chicken cooked, and diced or shredded
- 4 cups spinach sliced
- 6 ounces cream cheese softened and cut into 1" chunks
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup parsley chopped
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated, and divided
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Boil the lasagna noodles according to package directions. When done, drain and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter for the sauce. Whisk in the flour and as soon as it browns (about 1 to 2 minutes) whisk in the milk. Bring the milk to a very light boil and whisk occasionally until it thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.
While your noodles and sauce are cooking go ahead and work on the filling. In a large bowl mix together the chicken, spinach, cream cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic, parsley and 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese. Use your hands if you need to in order to make sure it's mixed thoroughly.
In a rectangular casserole dish layer the ingredients in this order sauce, noodles, sauce, chicken mixture, noodles, sauce, chicken mixture, noodles, and then sauce. Any noodles on the top that don't get covered in sauce could get crispy so be careful about even coverage. Top the whole thing off with the other 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Since I sometimes get confused about the order to layer lasagna ingredients I made you a little chart for this recipe.
Bake at 400 degrees until brown on top, about 15 to 20 minutes. If your casserole was cold when you started (either from the fridge or defrosted completely from the freezer) then you'll need to increase the baking time.
We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.