Recipes   /   Pesto Lasagne

Pesto Lasagne

Aug 13, 2009 by Gabriele Corcos


Today’s recipe is somewhat a classic in Italy; it is a Vegetarian Lasagne, without the “Ratatouille” inside.
If you were in Italy, this dish would be always easy and very fast to prepare, here in the States it will be up to your own luck in finding the pre-made ingredients we use… In fact, almost anywhere in “The Old Country” you are able to scout (and successfully find) pesto and “besciamella” (bechamel sauce) ready to go, and a special kind of lasagne that do not need to be boiled in water: and this is what truly makes the difference, as you can prepare a pan that can serve up to 12 people in less than 20 minutes, and shove it in the oven without further worries. Here in the States, we only could find the “no-boil-required” lasagne from Barilla, but the search for the besciamella and the pesto did not give any result; yes, we know that your beloved Trader Joes’ has some sort of packaged pesto…but no, thanks!
After all, if you have a decent mixer in your kitchen, the preparation of this dish should not take you more than a half hour.


Yields: 3 cups  / Prep time: 5 minutes  / Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



Serves: 6  Prep time: 10-15 minutes 

  • 4 cups of fresh basil leaves (about 4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of pinoli (pine nuts), toasted
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Sardo or Romano
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper



Serves: 8 Prep time: 15 minutesCook time: 35 minutes

  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 3 cups Besciamella (recipe above)
  • 1 1/2 (9-ounce) boxes of no-boil lasagna noodles
  • Pesto (recipe above)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for serving




1In a small saucepan, warm up the milk over medium heat.

2In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the flour.

3Add the warm milk to the butter-flour mixture and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes until thickened.

4Season the sauce with freshly grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Taste to ensure the flour flavor has dissipated. If you still taste the flour, cook a few minutes longer.


For a thicker besciamella, add 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon of flour and cook for a few minutes over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.

To thin a sauce, add 1 tablespoon milk (or 2 if needed). 


1Using a mortar and pestle or in a food processor, combine the olive oil, basil, pine nuts, and garlic and blend until a paste forms.

2Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino cheeses, and pulse until smooth.

3Season with salt and pepper to taste(be mindful that that the cheeses are salty).

4 Keep covered, air-tight, in the fridge until you’re ready to use it; this will prevent it from oxidizing and turning dark.


1Preheat the oven to 375º F. Now that you have (or have made) the besciamella and the pesto, you only need a cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and 1 1/2 (9-ounce) boxes of no-boil lasagna noodles.

2Butter a 9  x 13-inch baking dish or aluminum pan.

3Spread a thin layer of besciamella (about 1/2 cup) over the bottom of the dish. Cover with
a layer of lasagne noodles, then another thin layer of besciamella. Gently spread 4 tablespoons of pesto across the surface, followed by about 2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan.

4Repeat the process until you reach the top, which should be a final layer of noodles and an uppermost layer of besciamella, topped with pesto and Parmesan.

5Bake for about 30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top. For a nice crisp coating, turn on the broiler and bake for another 5 minutes(keep a watchful eye on this step, so top does not burn).

6Lest rest for 5 minutes before serving. Keep extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan handy for a final garnish before serving.

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