Thursday, 5 April 2012

Pesto Lasagna

Baking a gorgeous lasagna is not difficult as it seems, and when you will cook for the first time your own lasagna you will not order it in a restaurant any more, honestly!

Today I will share with you my secrets about how to prepare an awesome Pesto Lasagna.  There are some advantages in it compared to the traditional one: it is quicker to prepare, the pesto sauce needs no cooking, and also the vegetarian guests will be able to enjoy it!

There are 4 main ingredients in my Pesto Lasagna: fresh pesto sauce, béchamel sauce (white sauce), boiled vegetables, and, of course lasagna noodles.

Pesto Lasagna

Ingredients for 8:
500 gr of lasagna noodles
200 gr of potatoes, boiled
200 gr of french beans, boiled
50 gr of butter
a handful of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Ingredients for pesto sauce:
150 gr of fresh basil leaves
100 gr of pine nuts
50 gr of Parmigiano Peggiano cheese
1/2 garlic clove
6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
50 ml of boiling water
a pinch of salt
a pinch of black pepper
Ingredients for the béchamel sauce:
100 gr butter
1 l of whole milk
12 tbsp of flour
1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
a pinch of salt

How to prepare:
First, blanch the lasagna noodles for a couple of minutes in salted boiling water. Then drain (keeping some hot water for the pesto sauce) and dry sheet by sheet on a cloth.

Put all the ingredients for the pesto sauce in a blender and blend until you will have a smooth sauce. If the sauce is too thick add some more water. The final result has to be rather fluid because the lasagna will need some moist for the baking.

Heat the milk in a pot. In a saucepan melt the butter and whisk in the flour. When the butter and the flour are well mixed, take the sauce pan from the stove and start to pour in little by little the hot milk whisking all the time with a whisk. You should obtain a thin sauce without lumps. Now, if you have a microwave, transfer the sauce in a microwave safe bowl and put it in the microwave at maximum power for 2 minutes. Then take it out, whisk it and put it back in the microwave for another 2 minutes. Whisk again and if the sauce is too thin repeat the process one last time. If you do not have a microwave, put the saucepan back on the stove at low/medium heat and bring the sauce to boil whisking all the time. When the sauce will be thick enough take it from the stove. Finally, season the béchamel sauce with salt and ground nutmeg, and let it cool.

Peel the boiled potatoes and cut them into slices of around 1 cm thickness.

Mix the pesto sauce with 2/3 of the béchamel sauce. Taste and add more salt if necessary. You will use the rest of the béchamel sauce for the topping.

Preheat the oven at 200° C.

Grease a backing tray (35x25x7 cm or similar) with 2-3 tbsp of butter. Put one first layer of sauce, followed by one layer of lasagna noodles, and finally one layer of boiled vegetables (french beans and potatoes). Go on like this until you finish your ingredients, the last layer has to be a layer of lasagna noodles. Top the lasagna with the béchamel sauce that you previously put aside. Lastly garnish with some butter flakes and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano cheese.

Put the lasagna in the oven on the middle rack and bake it for 40 minutes. The lasagna is ready when on the top there is a nice golden crust. Serve it hot.

You can prepare the lasagna even from the day before and bake it only at the last moment.


  1. Thick and full of flavor, very nice! I've never tried adding beans and potatoes to lasagna, but I could see this adding even more comfort to the dish! I've also never tried making lasagna with pesto sauce so I'm jumping at the idea of making this!

    1. Thank you Julia! The idea for this recipe comes from the tradition of the city of Genova. There people use to eat this wonderful pasta with pesto sauce, french beans and potatoes. So, I thought to try to put the same ingredients into a lasagna. The result was delicious! Is you try it let me know :-)