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This creamy and cheesy pesto lasagna will blow your mind. You will be screaming "Mamma mia" after tasting it! #pesto #italy #lasagna | cookingtheglobe.com
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Creamy Pesto Lasagna

Who knows better how to make a great lasagna than Italians? This meatless Pesto Lasagna features a homemade pesto sauce and is super creamy and cheesy!
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 750kcal
Author CookingTheGlobe

Ingredients

For the Pesto:

  • 3 cups packed (3 oz or 90-100g) fresh basil leaves
  • 3 small garlic cloves, crushed with the back of a knife
  • ¾ cup (180ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup (35g) pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup (100g) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the Bechamel sauce:

  • ½ cup (1 stick or 110g) unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • teaspoon (a pinch) ground nutmeg
  • ½-3/4 teaspoon (3-4g) salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the lasagna assembly:

  • 8 oz (225g) fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • 1 cup (100g) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles

Instructions

  • The Pesto. Mortar and pestle method. Pound the garlic and salt together in a mortar and pestle until smooth. Add toasted pine nuts and keep pounding until crushed and creamy. Add the basil in handfuls crushing the leaves against the walls of the mortar in a circular motion. Once the leaves are crushed, stir in the Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Lastly, gradually pound in the olive oil, adding a spoonful at a time. Mix everything well until the pesto is smooth and the olive oil is evenly distributed.
  • Food processor method. Place the garlic, basil leaves, pine nuts and salt in a food processor. Pulse several times or process continuously until the basil is pureed. Add the grated cheese and lemon zest and pulse several times more. While the food processor is running, add the olive oil.
  • The Bechamel sauce. Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 2-3 minutes not allowing the mixture to brown. Add the milk slowly, continuing to stir to prevent lumps from forming, until you get the smooth, thick sauce. Bring it to a boil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat and add the nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Cover until ready to use to prevent a skin from forming.
  • The lasagna assembly. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190C). Mix together the pesto and the bechamel sauce. Spread a layer of the sauce on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish and place a first layer of lasagna noodles. Cover with the sauce, mozzarella pieces and a dusting of Parmesan. Add another layer of lasagna noodles and repeat the topping. Continue with all the layers in this way, finishing with the sauce and grated Parmesan on the top.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Enjoy!

Notes

Recipe adapted from Jessica Theroux's book Cooking with Italian Grandmothers: Recipes and Stories from Tuscany to Sicily

Nutrition

Calories: 750kcal