I had these chicken pesto lasagna rolls on the menu early this week. The weather forecast predicted a cloudy and rainy day, and I was totally craving this kind of simple comfort food. I also had both pesto and marinara sauce in the fridge desperately needing a home - it was meant to be!
I'd gone out to run some errands the day I intended to make them, and happened to drive by a certain burger joint, and as I did, the aroma of whatever they had cooking wafted in through my car's windows. It was intoxicating! I was so enticed I sent Shane a text telling him we should grab burgers there soon. You know where this is going, right?
The plan for the lasagna rolls was thrown out the window when Shane suggested picking up burgers on his way home from work that very night. It seemed like a good idea at the time; as much as I love cooking, sometimes it's nice to have a night off. Ultimately, the experience was a little disappointing unfortunately. It's not the first time we've tried this restaurant, and usually it's great, but on this particular night, it just wasn't anything special.
I was looking forward to the lasagna rolls more than ever the next night, and they didn't let me down. Shredded chicken, pesto, ricotta and mozzarella are rolled up in lasagna noodles and cooked in both bechamel and red sauce. One of the best things about this recipe is that you make just about all of the components ahead of time and simply assemble at the last minute for a really quick and tasty weeknight dinner. You could even use store-bought pesto and marinara to make things easier on yourself. Another bonus? The leftovers reheat well. I had them for lunch the following day and enjoyed them as much as the first night.
The rolls are a fun twist on traditional lasagna and so much easier to photograph since you don't have to worry about trying to get a neat slice out of the pan (which, for the record, I find nearly impossible) :)
Chicken Pesto Lasagna Rolls
from Confections of a Foodie Bride
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup milk (low-fat is fine)
1 cup shredded chicken
1 (15 oz) container of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup pesto sauce
1/2-3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
6 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1 cup chunky marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Add the butter to a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Once it melts, add the flour, whisking to combine. Cook for one minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Raise the heat to medium-high, and continue cooking, whisking frequently, until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove from the heat. Add 1/4 cup of the white sauce to the bottom of an 8x8-inch baking pan and spread in an even layer.
In a medium bowl, stir the chicken, ricotta, pesto, and 1/4 cup of the mozzarella together. Season with salt and pepper. Working with one lasagna noodle at a time, place a heaping 1/3 cup of the filling on the noodle and spread to cover. Roll the noodle up, then place in the baking pan. Repeat with the remaining noodles and filling.
Pour the remaining white sauce over the lasagna rolls, then top them with the marinara sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the rolls (you don't have to use the entire 1/2 cup remaining, but I like a lot of cheese, so I did!).
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese has browned and the sauce is bubbling around the edges of the pan.