A Very Different Lasagna

Photo: Randy Graham

Looking for a different “noodle” dish? This combination of pesto and béchamel sauce layered over lasagna noodles is outstanding and a welcome change from traditional tomato-based pasta dishes. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Basic Ingredients:
10   regular lasagna noodles (cooked)

Pesto Ingredients:
2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 garlic cloves (pressed)

Béchamel Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon vegetable base
2 cups milk (it’s best with whole milk)
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Pesto Sauce Directions:
Place 1 cup basil leaves in food processor on “chop”. Add 1/2 the nuts and garlic and chop again briefly. Slowly add 1/4 cup of the olive oil stopping to scrape down the sides of the container. Set food processor to blend until it forms a smooth paste. Repeat until all ingredients are used.

Béchamel Sauce Directions:
In a heavy medium saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and stir for a couple of minutes, until the flour is cooked.  Add the vegetable base and about a third of the milk, slowly, and whisk over medium heat.  Add the nutmeg and pepper.  When the sauce is smooth, add another third of the milk and whisk.  When the sauce is smooth again, add the rest of the milk and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a heat proof bowl and let cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an 8×8 pan (I like to use a 8-inch spring-form pan) place about 1/3 cup of the béchamel to coat the bottom of the pan. Lay first layer of lasagna noodles. Add enough béchamel to coat the noodles.  Add some pesto and spread into the béchamel. Add a handful of the grated Parmesan. Continue to layer the noodles, béchamel, pesto and Parmesan until the last layer of noodles. On top of this, spread the béchamel only, add the rest of the Parmesan and top with the mozzarella.  Sprinkle the oregano on top.

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Wrap tightly with foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes more or until top is golden. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before slicing.

Note: You may be tempted to substitute “oven ready” lasagna noodles. Don’t! Trust me on this.

About Valley Vegetarian

The fresh chef providing consistently good vegetarian comfort food recipes.
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