Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Love 4 Lasagna: Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

I'm a bit late in posting this final Love 4 Lasagna entry, but at least I got it done in November.  And I have to say I think the Boy would say this was worth the wait.  The idea for this lasagna came about when my mom was visiting earlier in the month.  I was brainstorming ideas and she actually suggested it.   When we took our day trip to Buffalo with the Shack's the boy complained about not getting wings and that's when I knew I had to try to make this lasagna version.

When googling "Buffalo Chicken Lasagna" I came across just one recipe that seemed to be reposted everywhere and just didn't sound appealing to me.  It read like a standard lasagna with ricotta, tomato sauce noodles and some spicy chicken.  I wanted my version to really taste like a lasagna version of the Boy's favorite bar food.     I knew how I wanted to deal with the chicken but kept getting stuck on the sauce.  Red sauce?  A bechemel with blue cheese?  What would make it a lasagna but also a dish chock full of spicy buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing?

I solved it my making a basic tomato sauce and incorporating cream into it.  In doing this learned a down and dirty trick for keeping the cream from curdling when added to the tomatoes, a pinch of baking powder!  It worked like a charm!

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna
serves 4

2 chicken breasts - I prefer bone-in skin on
olive oil
salt & pepper
1/4 cup Franks Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
2 1/2 Tbsp melted butter
1 clove garlic - minced
1/2 small shallot - minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 can crushed tomatoes
pinch baking soda
1/2 cup half & half
3 standard lasagna noodles
blue cheese crumbles

1.  Heat oven to 400F.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, salt & pepper, place on a cookie sheet and roast for 30-45 minutes, or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool
2.  In a medium saucepan heat a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium low.  Saute garlic, shallot and crushed red pepper for a few minutes until soft.  Add the crushed tomatoes to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle
4.  Add a pinch of baking powder to the sauce, it will bubble up, stir until the bubbles stop.  Remove from heat and stir in the half and half.  Return to heat to warm, but not boil.  Adjust salt & pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and set aside
5.  Remove the skin and bones from the cooled roasted chicken and shred the meat.  In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium low heat.  Whisk the hot sauce into the melted butter.  Toss the chicken in the hot sauce mixture.
6.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Lightly butter 4 ramekins.  Cut 1 lasagna noodle into 4 equal pieces.  Ladle some of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a ramekin.  Top with 1 piece of noodle, top with some buffalo chicken, more sauce and 3 small blue cheese crumbles.  Repeat with a second layer and then top with another noodle some sauce and more blue cheese.  Assemble the other 3 ramekins the same way.
7.  Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbly.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

This was a hit with my friend DD, who was over for the afternoon to work on a project and, unbeknownst to her as she made her way here, to be the guinea pig for my newest creation.  I fed it to the boy for dinner and to say he LOVED it would be an understatement.  It was another one of those silent meals where he didn't speak until he was done licking the ramekin.  Check one in the win column!

I really enjoyed it too.  It was the perfect dish to make small individual servings of, as it's super rich.  I went a bit conservative with the blue cheese because while we all love it, I didn't want it to overpower the spicy Buffalo sauce.   It would work really nicely as a different starter or pasta course at a dinner party.  I may even play with it a bit to see if I can work it as a 1 or 2 bite sized item.  If I can make it work it would be a great hors d'oeuvre at an upcoming holiday cocktail party.

There you have it my final Love 4 Lasagna post.  I'm so happy to have ended on a high note all around.  The round-up will be up shortly so you can see what Mama Shack made too!


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