I had one smoked chicken breast, and an eggplant that I had just bought, and I wanted to combine them with the ricotta and goat cheese that I had in the fridge. I went back and forth a few times trying to decide how to use it all, and this was my final decision. My other choice was to dice the eggplant up and use it to make a pasta sauce, but I'm glad I chose this as it was delicious, and easy to make ahead.
Start off by roasting the eggplant in a 400F oven. Cut it in half lengthwise and drizzle with olive oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place cut side down in an ovenproof dish and roast until it is soft to the touch, and the skin wrinkles slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before scooping the roasted flesh from the skin. Set aside until needed.
Next, cook 8 lasagne noodles in a large pot of boiling, salted water. When the noodles are just cooked, drain and run under cold water to cool them and stop them from over cooking. Cut each noodle in half.
Now you can prepare the filling...heat the oven to 350F.
Half a small onion
Cook in a bit of olive oil until it is softened and starting to caramelize.
1 smoked, or plain, chicken breast that has been diced
Cook until the chicken is cooked through, seasoning with salt and pepper.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Cook for a couple of minutes
Stir in the roasted eggplant, mashing it up with a wooden spoon. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
In a bowl combine:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup soft goat cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
Add the cooled chicken mixture to the cheese and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Divide the filling between the cooked and halved pasta sheets, spreading it down the middle, and leaving 1/2" without filling on each short side.
Roll each pasta sheet up around the filling, jelly roll style.
Place the rolled up pasta, seam side down, into an ovenproof dish.
Cover the lasagne roll ups with:
2 cups of Basic Tomato Sauce
Place the dish in the oven and bake until the lasagne roll ups are heated through and the sauce and cheese are bubbling, about 35 - 45 minutes.
- The beauty of this dish is that it can be made ahead and frozen, or refrigerated for a couple of days before being baked. The different components of the dish can also be made in stages, which is a time saver. The egglant can be roasted a day ahead; the filling can also be made a day ahead.
- I used the Basic Tomato Sauce from my freezer. You can also make a light bechamel or a cream sauce to use instead. For a bechamel recipe, see the post Recipe: Basic White Sauce (Bechamel)
- If you don't have eggplant, substitute roasted butternut squash, mashed sweet potato or chopped cooked spinach.
- I used smoked chicken, but plain chicken breast will work well. If you want the smokiness, add chopped cooked bacon, or use smoked mozzarella to top the dish with before baking it.
- You can use whatever fresh herbs are on hand...try basil, thyme, chives or parsley. I like the taste of rosemary with the smoked chicken and goat cheese.
- Use only ricotta cheese and Parmesan if you like, or use crumbled blue cheese instead of the goat cheese.
- The dish can also be assembled as a regular lasagne, alternating layers of the chicken and eggplant mixture with the cheese mixture and cooked pasta sheets. The cheese mixture can be combined with some bechamel or whipping cream to make it a bit more of a sauce if you like.
- Instead of lasagne noodles, create a lasagne by slicing the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4" thick slices. Brush the slices with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill them. Use these slices instead of the pasta, combining the cheese and chicken and layering it in between, alternating with Basic Tomato Sauce and topping it off with grated mozzarella. The same can be done with zucchini slices.
- Other meats can be used instead of chicken breasts...grilled sausage; ground beef, chicken or lamb; leftover cooked meat such as chicken, pork or beef.
- The filling for the roll ups can also be used for cannelloni or ravioli filling.