Are you looking for a fresher version of lasagna to serve in the summer? Why not relying on pesto then! Basil is a great seasonal herb and can give such a refreshing and delicate flavour to an hearty dish such as lasagna.
Choose carefully which lasagna noodles you want to use according to how much time you have to cook, as the no-boil ones will save you some cooking time (keep in mind that they absorb a lot of liquid to cook properly, so you'll need extra sauce too).
makes an 8×8 pan
for the pasta:
- 10 – 20 no-cook lasagna noodles or< fresh pasta sheets, cooked
for the pesto:
- 3 ounces Parmiggiano Reggiano, cut into chunks
- 1-1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup olive oil
for the bechamel:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups skimmed milk
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ground white pepper
for the assembly and topping:
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Make the pesto:
- finely ground the Parmigiano cheese chunks into the food processor
- Add garlic, basil, and pine nuts to food processor.
- Process, using pulses, until the everything is finely chopped.
- While the machine is running, slowly add olive oil until the pesto sauces gets smooth.
Make the bechamel:
- melt the butter in a medium saucepan,
- Whisk in the flour and stir gently for 2-3 minutes, until the flour is cooked.
- Add the bouillon cube and stir until it dissolves.
- Slowly add about a third of the milk, while delicately whisking over medium heat.
- Add nutmeg and pepper.
- When the sauce looks smooth, add another third of the milk and whisk.
- add the rest of the milk and whisk until it gets even smoother.
- Let it cool slightly in a separate bowl.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Coat the bottom of the pan with 1/3 cup of the bechamel
- Lay first layer of lasagna noodles.
- Add enough bechamel to coat the noodles.
- Add some pesto and spread into the bechamel.
- Sprinkle with a handful of the grated Parmesan.
- Continue layering the noodles, pesto, bechamel, and Parmesan until you're out of ingredients; for the topping just spread bechamel only, the rest of the Parmesan, some oregano and top with the mozzarella.
- Wrap tightly with aluminium foil
- Bake for 1 hour (if using regular lasagna sheets) or 1 hour and 15 minutes (if using the no-boil ones).
- bake for 10 minutes more, with no foil on top, so to make it golden.
- Remove from oven, let it cool down for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing.