This is such a special post for me..not coz it's my birthday or anything. Rather simply coz it was one of those weird experiments I did in the kitchen and it turned out
I love Lasagna..I love Chicken (as you all know ;)), I love spicy bolognese and a milder creamy bechamel... I love everything about it, except how messy it is to serve and to eat!
And given my lifelong obsession with cleanliness, this used to irk me quite a bit.
That's when my eyes fell on the muffin mould...
And I had yet another Eureka Moment!!!
How about lasagna in muffin tins??
Sheets of lasagna, baked to perfection in a delicious bolognese sauce...topped with a mixture of ricotta..some more bechamel ...mozarella..yet another layer and that's it....done!
And style of serving??
Pretty little Lasagna Cups!!
No mess while serving...no mess while eating.. (well a little of course, but that's just the good mess)
So here we go, three in one recipe post!
A Chicken Bolognese Sauce (for those who don't eat beef), a creamy fool proof bechamel sauce and of course, the lasagna itself!
Results?? Fabulous tiny little pretty cups of all things yum in the world... Every mouthful was perfect! Relish this mid-week feast with a glass of your favorite red wine and some amazing company...
Ingredients for the Lasagna:
- 5 lasagna sheets, boiled al dente and cut in half
- 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 6 tablespoon bechamel sauce
- 6 tablespoon bolognese sauce
- 5 teaspoon Ricotta cheese filling
Ingredients for the Bolognese Sauce:
- 1 cup Grilled Chicken, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
- 4-5 black peppercorns
- 2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped.
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 pack tomato purée, I used basic Dabur purée.
- 10-12 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
- 2 teaspoons red chillie flakes
Ingredients for the Ricotta filling:
- 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Ingredients for the Bechamel Sauce:
- 2 tablespoon garlic butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoon fresh cream
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3-4 tablespoon grated cheese,mozzarella
- a pinch of nutmeg
- salt, pepper as per taste.
Preheat oven to 180c. Grease a 6 cup muffin tin generously with olive oil.
For the Bolognese Sauce:
- Add the garlic, peppercorns, onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper to a large skillet set over medium to medium-high heat.
- Sauce till fragrant and cooked.
- Add the crumbled grilled chicken and stir for 3-4 mins.
- Add the tomato purée, oregano, and the red pepper flakes, and stir to combine.
- Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
For the Ricotta Cheese Filling:
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, the basil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
For the Bechamel Sauce:
- Heat some garlic herb butter, add a tablespoon of flour, whisk till frothy.
- Add half cup milk and whisk till it thickens,
- Next add another 1/2 cup of milk, salt, pepper, dijon mustard and whisk. Let it cook till it thickens for 5 mins. It should coat the back of a spoon.
- Add 2 tbsp fresh cream. Bring it off heat.
- Add 3-4 tbsp grated cheese, dash of nutmeg and whisk till it melts.
Assembling the Lasagna :
- Press 1/2 sheet of lasagna into each well of the muffin pan – be sure to press them into the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Start layering it by adding a teaspoon of the ricotta filling into each of the wells.
- Working with half of the tomato sauce, divide it among the wells of the pan, spreading in an even layer rather than in a mound.
- Add a layer of bechamel sauce,
- Add 2 teaspoons of the mozzarella over the top of each mini lasagna.
- Press the 2nd half of the lasagna sheet onto each mini lasagna then repeat the process of layering using the second half of the ricotta mixture,bechamel, the remaining half of the tomato sauce and finally two more teaspoons of the mozzarella per cup.
Bake the mini lasagnas for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove the muffin pan to a wire rack and let the mini lasagnas cool for a few minutes before removing them.
Garnish with fresh basil and a sprinkling of mixed herbs.