Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Baked Pesto Lasagna

This picture does not show well but this is a really good, cheesy recipe.

12 wide lasagna noodles (do not use instant)
Pesto (I use store bought) (to make your own 1 bunch fresh basil stems removed, 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, 8-10 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil.)
Freshly ground white pepper to taste (I just used reg black pepper)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half or milk (I used half-and-half)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I think you could probably just use reg. Parmesan)

Salt and Pepper to Taste
Butter as needed
8 oz mozzarella, grated
8 oz Monterrey jack, grated

1. Boil the noodles in salted water according to package directions.
2. Drain and lay all strips out to dry (I use tin foil to lay them on because they don't stick)
3. This is if you want to make your own Pesto Sauce if you are doing store bought skip this step. Wash basil leaves well in several changes of water. Blanch in boiling water just until limp. Using a slotted spoon, immediately plunge into ice water to cool. Drain again and squeeze dry. Place in blender with parsley, garlic, oil and puree until smooth. Season with pepper to taste. Set aside.
4. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat.
5. Whisk in the flour until smooth and cook, stirring 2-3 min.
6. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half.
7. Raise heat and cook, whisking until thickened and smooth.
8. Stir in the Parmigiano and let cool slightly
9. Stir in the pesto until completely blended. (About 3 Tbs of the store bought pesto but add till you get a good taste)
10. Heat the oven to 325 degrees
11. Liberally butter the bottom and sides of a 9x11 baking dish.
12. Spoon a little of the pesto sauce over the bottom of the pan (about 3 Tbs)
13. Line with 3 strips of noodles
14. With a rubber spatula, top each strip evenly with sauce about a quarter
15. Sprinkle about a quarter of the mozzarella and Monterrey jack on top
16. Repeat with 3 more layers (be careful not to use too much white sauce for each layer so you have enough for the top)
17. Top off with the last of the white sauce (smoothing top) and remaining cheese
18. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake 20 min. Uncover and cook an additional 15 Min. Let stand 5 min before serving.

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