Chicken, Kale & Mushroom White Lasagna

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Fall is a beautiful time of year.  It’s a particularly short season here in Calgary as we experience a swift transition between our gorgeous last days of summer, with sunny days and balmy nights to crisp mornings and see-your-breath (ALREADY??) nights.  Check.  And, of course, there’s always at least one good snowfall before it’s even Halloween.  Check.  And while the first day of winter is officially December 21st, we all know that’s a load of cr___ *ahem* cold, 4 foot snowdrifts and slippery commutes.

But that makes it sound like we don’t like Winter around here, and that’s just not true.  Winter is, when it’s not 40 below, a beautiful time of year filled with festivities, a plethora of fun Winter sports with cups of fireside hot chocolate, and delicious cling-to-your-ribs meals, like this Chicken, Kale & Mushroom White Lasagna.  It’s perfect for a comforting dinner with family and friends and you can get everything you need in one warm stop at the Calgary Farmers’ Market.

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Market-Sourced Ingredients

2lbs sausage, removed from casings and crumbled from Missing Link Extraordinary Sausage

1 to 2 bunches kale (1 1/2 pounds), thick stems removed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces and rinsed from Innisfail Growers

1lb of assorted mushrooms from Souto Farms (we used portabello, chantrelles, and brown mushrooms)

2 containers of Alfredo Sauce from The Stock and Sauce Co.

1 large onion, diced and 4 garlic cloves, minced from Cherry Pit

4 large fresh lasagna sheets from Soffritto

1 tub of fresh buffalo mozzarella and 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano from Fresh DELIcious

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add chicken and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 minutes. Add kale leaves with a splash of water and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

We like the addition of caramelized onions to the mushroom medley, so we added garlic and the entire onion, sliced, to a pan with olive oil and a pat of butter (using oil with the butter will prevent it from burning).  Cook on low until the onions have softened, taken on a caramel color, and are sweet yet still slightly crisp.  There’s no need to add sugar to your onions, just let the caramelization process happen naturally… low and slow.

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And then, in a third skillet with a little olive oil, cook the mushrooms off until soft.  We learned a neat trick from Chef Nicole Gomes when she was at the market for an in-house mushroom risotto demo: don’t add salt to the mushrooms while they’re cooking.  This will draw even more water out of the mushrooms and produce a spongy texture.  Neat eh?  So, just cook off the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper after removing them from the heat.

Lasagna Collage

Spread a ladle-full of Alfredo sauce along the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. The lasagna noodles from Soffritto actually come in one long sheet, so you can conveniently cut them to the size of your casserole dish. Place one sheet of fresh lasagna noodles over sauce in a single layer. Top with 1/2 cup Alfredo, spooning the sausage and kale mixture over in a thin layer. This is typically where you’d add a layer of ricotta cheese, but we omitted this to lighten up the dish a bit. Repeat with a second second sheet of noodles, Alfredo, and mushroom medley layer. Top with remaining lasagna sheet, 1/2 cup Alfredo, sliced mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, and freshly ground pepper and salt. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is golden in places and lasagna is bubbling along the edges, about 15 minutes.  Remove lasagna from oven and let stand 20 minutes before slicing and serving. *Note: we did not trim the noodles to an exact fit and therefore the overhanging noodles will become crisp.  If you wish to remove these extra bits, just use a sharp knife to carve the excess noodles.

There’s more snow ahead for us this Sunday.  Now you have a twist on the classic lasagna to curl up with on a cold night.  Check!

Cook Like a Top Chef

Ever wondered if you had what it takes to cook like a Top Chef?  Well, we’re here to help.  Top Chef Canada Contestant Nicole Gomes will be demonstrating how to make a Truffled Mushroom Risotto at the market!  Join us this Saturday, April 6th at 12 noon to learn how to make it yourself and enjoy a sample of her delicious dish.  Find the recipe below with all sorts of delicious ingredients that can be found at the market.

Truffled Mushroom Risotto

Serves 4 – 6

For the mushrooms:

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil from Fresh DELIcious

4 cloves garlic, 3 of them chopped from Souto Farms

Pinch dried chili flakes from The Silk Road Spice Merchant

1 pound assorted mushrooms (shitake, portobello, chantrelles, etc), cleaned and sliced from Souto Farms &   Cherry Pit

salt

For the risotto:

2 tbsp butter, unsalted from Sylvan Star Cheese

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil from Fresh DELIcious

1 ½ cups carnaroli or arborio rice La Cucina

1 small onion, finely diced from Souto Farms

¼ cup dry white wine

8 cups chicken stock, heated until hot and on low heat from The Stock and Sauce Co

¾ cup parmesan, freshly grated from Fresh DELIcious

2 tbsp porcini powder (dried porcinis, ground to a dust in a coffee grinder) from Cherry Pit

3 tbsp  butter from Sylvan Star Cheese

1 tbsp truffle paste or ½ teaspoon of good quality white truffle oil from Fresh DELIcious

¼ cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley or chives from Cherry Pit

salt

Chef Nicole Risotto

To prepare mushrooms:

Heat a large fry pan on high heat, add olive oil being careful not to allow oil to smoke.  Add mushrooms, sauté for 2- 4 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Turn down heat to medium high.  Add chilli flakes and garlic, sauté for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Lightly season with salt and taste for seasoning.  Set aside.

To make risotto:

In a 10 – 12” sauté pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Once butter is melted add onions and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 8 – 10 minutes.  Add the rice and stir until opaque, you should notice the rice grains are translucent on the outside with a speck of white on the inside, 3 – 4 minutes.  Lightly season with salt, just a sprinkle.

Add the wine and stir until evaporated.  One cup at a time add stock and cook, stirring until all the liquid is absorbed.  Repeat this process one cup at a time, until rice is still slightly hard about 14 minutes (you may have stock left over).  Add mushrooms and porcini powder, stir in1cup of stock at a time until the rice is “al dente” (not mushy, not undercooked, but still has bite), about 5 minutes. Stir in parmesan and butter.   Adjust seasoning with salt and finish with truffle oil or truffle paste to taste. Finish with a Rice should be creamy and slightly moister than the consistency of porridge.  Drizzle over sauce, serve immediately.

Truffled Mushroom Risotto

If that doesn’t fix your Top Chef craving then join Nicole and all her supporters for a VIP viewing of Episode 4 of Top Chef Canada in support of the Canadian Cancer Society. Food and drink will be provided.

Monday, April 8th 2013
6pm-8:30 pm
Tickets are $25
Willow Park Wine and Spirits
To buy tickets call 403.296.1640 ext 277
Or buy online with Eventbrite.ca

Follow Chef Nicole on Twitter