Lasagne al pesto

Lasagne al pesto

The beauty of many Italian recipes from risotto to lasagne to pasta is that, once you get the technique down, you can swap the ingredients how you like and still end up with a very traditional and classic Italian dish (warning, this does NOT however apply to pizza! I don’t make the rules, I just follow them).

Pesto lasagne is a classic veggie version of the heavier but more well-known Bolognese lasagne that normally features both pork and beef meat. It can be prepared a full day ahead and then baked, as well as frozen before baking for up to a month. By using Claremont-made Vegetaball’s Pesto and oven-ready lasagne sheets, what would normally be a labor intensive recipe can easily turn into a weekday dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack 12 oz Vegetaball’s Original Pesto
  • 1 pack oven-ready lasagna sheets (if using homemade lasagne or non oven ready lasagne sheets, note that you’ll need to parboil them for 1 minute in lightly salted boiling water before using them)
  • 1 liter or 4 & 1/4 cups of full fat milk
  • 100 gr or 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 100 gr or around a heaping 3/4 cup of flour (I like to use 00 Italian flour for all my Italian recipes, but unbleached all-purpose also works)
  • Kosher salt
  • Nutmeg, ground or whole
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano Reggiano, or similar cheese

For the bechamel, warm up the milk in the microwave or a small pot (don’t let it boil). In a different pot, melt butter on low heat. Once butter has melted, take the pot away from the heat and add the (preferably sieved) flour a bit at a time, whisking to prevent clumps formation. Once flour and melted butter have combined, put the pot back on low heat and keep whisking until the mixture turns golden. Add a pinch of salt and a bit of ground or freshly grated nutmeg to the milk, then slowly add the milk to the butter and flour mixture, and keep whisking to prevent clumps. Keep cooking on low heat for 5-6 minutes until the bechamel has thickened and has just started to boil. Pour in a bowl and let cool.

Take a rectangular casserole dish and lightly oil the bottom. Pour a thin layer of bechamel, then a couple spoonfuls of pesto, and spread them around. Add a layer of lasagne sheets, slightly overlapping them. Add another layer of bechamel and one of pesto, then a layer of grated cheese and top it off with the lasagne sheets. Repeat until you are out of ingredients – I normally do 6 layers of lasagne sheets using 3 at a time – and top your lasagne off with the last of the bechamel and pesto and a generous handful of grated cheese.
Cook in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes and then 5 extra minutes under the broiler. Buon appetito!

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