Friday, May 27, 2011

Pesto Lasagne

Pesto <span class=Lasagne">

After a trip I crave a nice meal at home. Going out is nice and one of my favorite thing to do, but making a hot delicious meal for my family at the end of the day gives me much more satisfaction. Dishes on the other hand, do not. This is a very light and thinner lasagna with gorgeous layers of fresh basil pesto, Parmesan cheese and bechamel sauce. It doesn't have globs of cheese but rather a dusting of Parmesan cheese on each layer. I figure it is the perfect reason to eat dessert afterwards! Note: I never said this was low fat. I just said it was light as in you don't feel heavy afterwards.

Pesto Lasagne
Adapted from Debi Mazar and Gabrielle Corcos
serves 9


  • Pesto, recipe follows
  • Besciamella, recipe follows
  • Butter, for baking dish, plus more for topping
  • 1 1/2 (9-ounce) boxes no boil lasagna noodles or regular pasta noodles, boiled.
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh Pesto:
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves, about 4 ounces
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Sardo or Romano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Besciamella:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 13 by 9 by 4 baking dish and add a thin layer of besciamella (bechamel sauce). Cover with a layer of lasagna noodles, and then another thin layer of besciamella. Gently spread about 4 tablespoons pesto across the surface, and then top with about 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Repeat until you finish layering the lasagne. Top with a final layer of noodles and spread a final very thin layer besciamella, pesto, Parmesan cheese and a little butter to help the cheese crisp-up when cooked in the oven.

Cook the lasagne for about 30 minutes. Serve dressed with some Parmesan and a drop of extra-virgin olive oil.

Fresh Pesto:

Combine the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil in a mortar and pestle and pound until paste forms. Add the Parmesan cheese, Pecorino cheese, salt and pepper and stir until smooth.

Keep the pesto in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.

Mix the pasta and the pesto...serve garnished with some grated Parmesan (just a touch), fresh ground pepper and a sprinkle of olive oil.


Melt the 1/2 cup butter in a pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Cook's Note: This is an important moment, as you have to slowly toast the flour without burning it. This will help you lose the flowery taste.

Warm up the milk and gradually ladle into the pot with the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly while bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season the sauce with freshly grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper.


This is a crucial moment for your pesto, as you need to season with salt and pepper. Keep in mind that Parmigiano and Pecorino are both dry and salty cheeses. You have to taste your sauce a few times in order not to go overboard when you are seasoning it.

If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk, if too runny, return to the heat and add a pat of butter mixed with an equal amount of all-purpose flour. The most important thing though is: besciamella should not taste floury. If you think your sauce is ready, but you can spot a hint of "flouriness" when you taste it, think again, and keep on cooking it for a few minutes more.


  1. Okay, you're killin' me. When I saw this on Extra Virgin I wanted to jump through the screen...ditto here! Looks amazing =)

  2. I have a naughty love affair with pesto so this will hit the spot!