Chicken Lasagna alla Bolognese – a classic lasagna recipe using ground chicken and pancetta for the Bolognese sauce. Simple to make and a favorite comfort food.
Don’t you just love lasagna? I’m sure you all have your own version of lasagna, your go-to recipe from your mother or grandmother that’s been passed down to you. Well I never got one from my mom, but I did learn to make lasagna myself a very long time ago because lasagna was one of my favorite pasta dishes. Maybe it’s all the cheese, or all the saucy noodles, it doesn’t matter because when you put all these great ingredients together, you’ve got a classic comfort food.
But there’s nothing more classic or epic than lasagna alla bolognese. Bolognese sauce which is known as ragu in Italian simply means a meat-based sauce. And that’s what I’ve done here, after all this lasagna is all about the meat sauce. I used ground chicken to make it a bit healthier, but usually ground beef is used, but you could use ground turkey or even ground pork, your choice. Although I used ground chicken I did add some pancetta, because we’ve already established that bacon makes the world go round. Then of course as any good meat sauce, it’s loaded with onion, celery, carrots and lots of garlic and basil. And as you probably know the secret to a good sauce is to let it simmer on low heat for a while, but for the sake of speeding this recipe up a bit, I simmered it for 20 minutes and it was still delicious.
The sauce is about the hardest thing about this recipe. The rest is a piece of cake. For the cheese mixture all you need is ricotta cheese, an egg and mozzarella cheese. Then let the layering begin. I usually start with a bit of sauce at the bottom, then a layer of noodles, more sauce, cheese, noodles, sauce, cheese….and so on until I run of ingredients. But here’s my favorite thing about making lasagna lately. I use uncooked noodles.
Yep, I discovered this a while ago and let me tell you it works. This is what I used to hate about making lasagna before is that I had to boil the noodles, making me extra dirty pots to clean. No thank you. So yeah you can just use uncooked noodles, like the dry noodles you buy, or even fresh noodles. If you choose the fresh noodles, it will take a bit less time to cook them vs the dry noodles.
After you layer your lasagna, which is fun to do and you could definitely make your kids do this, all that’s left to do is bake it. If you use the dry noodles it will take about an hour to cook the noodles, if you use the fresh ones, it will take about 40 minutes. And that’s all there is to this classic lasagna, all that’s left to do is eat, which I’m about to do right now, so until later my friends.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 oz pancetta, chopped
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp red chili flakes
- ¼ cup chopped basil
- 2 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 container (500 ml or 2 cups) ricotta cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg
- 9 lasagna noodles, uncooked
- In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and pancetta to the pot and saute for about 5 minutes until onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the ground chicken to the pot and break it up using a wooden spoon so that it crumbles. Cook it for another 5 minutes until the ground chicken is no longer pink.
- Add the oregano, chili flakes, tomato paste and stir. Add the wine and basil and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally add in the chicken broth and crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper as needed. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
- In a bowl combine together the ricotta, 1½ cup of the mozzarella cheese and the egg. Set aside.
- Spread a couple ladles of the bolognese sauce in the bottom of a ceramic 13x9 baking dish. Arrange 3 noodles over the bolognese sauce; top with a couple more ladles of the sauce, then top with ⅓ of the cheese mixture, trying to spread it around a bit. Repeat with another 3 lasagna noodles, sauce, cheese, 3 more lasagna noodles, sauce and last of the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of mozzarella cheese over the top.
- Bake for about an hour until the noodles are cooked through. If you're using fresh lasagna noodles, it will take less cooking time, about 35 to 45 minutes.
- Let the lasagna cool for a few minutes before cutting into it. Feel free to garnish it with fresh parsley or basil and Parmesan cheese.