Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Lasagna Rolls on Creamy Bacon and Pesto Bechamel – 1st Place Winner 2015 Recipe Contest

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! This recipe WON our contest, so now you have an excellent idea of the criteria for winning. Like the best foods in our culinary world...caesar salad, the cheeseburger, pizza, the taco...this dish is a whole greater than the sum of its parts. It's basically a deconstructed then reconstructed lasagne al forno. And it's another of the few dishes that I unhesitatingly guarantee will please you and your guests.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter

For the Béchamel:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with Whole Pine Nuts, drained then pulsed in a food processor until very finely chopped
  • 6 slices hickory smoked bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • For the Lasagna Rolls:
  • 2 tbsp Bella Sun Luci Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 (3.5 oz.) pouch Bella Sun Luci Julienne Cut Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 1-cup semi-packed fresh baby spinach, julienned
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ⅓ cup grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked until al dente and lightly drizzled with olive oil to keep from sticking together

For the Sauce:

  • 1 (8.5 oz.) jar Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Halves in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Italian Herbs
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 (8 oz.) can roasted garlic tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • For the top:
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Garnish:
  • 2 tbsp snipped Italian parsley

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375 °F. Lightly butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or lasagna pan with ½ teaspoon butter. Set aside.
  2. For the béchamel, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Slowly stir in milk. Cook until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in cream. Remove from heat and stir in salt, Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, and bacon. Spread evenly in prepared dish. Set aside.
  3. For the lasagna rolls, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes until cooked, stirring often. Sprinkle with salt. Stir in garlic, Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut, and spinach. Cook for 1 minute stirring often. Remove from heat and drain.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the cheeses, egg, and pepper. Stir in drained chicken mixture.
  5. Lay out lasagna noodles on a work surface. Divide chicken mixture onto noodles and spread evenly over each. Starting at one end, roll each noodle like a jellyroll. Arrange rolls, seam side down, evenly on top of béchamel.
  6. For sauce, pulse all sauce ingredients in a food processor until sun dried tomatoes are finely chopped. Spoon evenly over lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese.
  7. Cover with parchment paper and then foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove parchment and foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley for garnish. Serve immediately.
  8. Serves 8-10.
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