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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pesto Lasagne (Hanne and Diana)

1 cup pesto sauce (If homemade, use less oil than usual. If store-bought, drain off any oil from the top)
2 cups Bechamel Sauce—
½ stick butter
2 cloves peeled garlic, cut in half
¼ cup flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
a pinch nutmeg
2 cups whole milk or ½ and ½, heated in microwave (not boiled)
¼ cup white wine.
Melt butter and whisk in flour. Gradually add milk to the butter/flour mixture. Let bubble, whisk, then lower heat and cook for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Add wine.

Lasagne noodles, cooked till just tender. Fresh is best! -use the Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles, since they’re thinner. Dunk the noodles in boiling water for a minute to soften slightly. They’ll cook more when the lasagna is in the oven, but since you don’t use as much sauce as in American-style lasagna, they can dry out without this step. (You can do this the day before—just roll the cooked pasta up in kitchen towels jelly-roll style, put in a large Ziploc, and refrigerate. Let come to room temp before assembling lasagna.)

1 ball fresh mozzarella. Avoid the pre-shredded packaged stuff
¼ cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

When making sauce- You can make this the day before and gently reheat before using. You may need to thin it with a bit more milk, since it thickens as it stands. Don’t try to use it if it’s cold, or you won’t be able to spread it over the pasta

1. Dunk pasta in boiling water until just tender—no more than 2 minutes. Lay onto a few
2. Meanwhile, make the bechamel sauce, as detailed above.
3. Bechamel sauce- Melt butter, add garlic, spices, gradually flour and add milk, cook for 10 minutes
4. Then stir in the pesto.
5. Shred the mozzarella.
6. Butter a lasagna pan. Pour a thin layer of sauce onto the bottom.
7. Place a layer of lasagna noodles onto the sauce
8. Spread on a thin layer of sauce.
9. Sprinkle with a bit of mozzarella, then a bit of parmesan.
10. Repeat layering pasta, sauce, cheese until you have 3 or 4 layers. You may have leftover sauce, which is great tossed with pasta as a Cook’s Treat.
Bake in a 400 oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden on top. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Even better the next day! If there’s excess oil on top, blot with paper towels to remove

Heavy pan for sauce
Large oven proof pan to bake it all in

This is northern Italian lasagna. The layers are very thin, with the filling acting more as a condiment to the pasta. Do not overload the layers with sauce and cheese, or it’ll get heavy. You want this to be thin and delicate. I often double this recipe. This freezes well, if you only bake it for 15 minutes, then cool, cover well, and freeze. To reheat, place frozen pan in a 400 oven until hot and lightly browned.

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