For the person who is usually unimpressed by traditional lasagna, this one is a winner. It is simple and easy, and allows a lot of variation. For example, adding mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes or sausages. It is hard to go wrong with homemade pesto melted into creamy, cheesytown with fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.
We thoroughly enjoyed this meal for two dinners and two lunches. Just delicious. And I LOVE pesto.
WriteGal’s Pesto Lasagna
- 1 package lasagna noodles
- 1 pound chicken sausage (or other flavorful sausage)
- 1 tub of part-skim ricotta cheese (about 1 c.)
- 10-16 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced (Whole Foods has the best deal on this, I think)
- 1 large bunch fresh basil (about 2 cups), leaves and stems (those soft stems have flavor! Use them!)
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, plus another 1-2 c. for layering
- 1/4 c. pine nuts
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325.
Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. While that heats, brown your sausage in a nonstick skillet until well-cooked. Set aside. Add salt and lasagna noodles to the water and cook per the box’s directions. You want them with a little bite, 6-8 min.
In a blender or food processor, add the olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, basil and Parmesan. Process until combined, adding salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and mix with ricotta. Set aside.
To assemble lasagna, grease a glass baking dish and layer the lasagna noodles, then pesto mixture (dollop a few spoonfuls and spread as best you can), then add some sausage, then some Parmesan cheese, then mozzarella. Repeat until you are out of pesto, ending with mozzarella and lots of Parmesan on top. It will look uneven and not exactly like something that will turn out well. Trust me…
Place in oven and bake until melted, bubbling and slightly browned on top, roughly 20 min. Let stand for another 20 min.
Cut into large pieces and serve! I love how the ricotta makes everything creamier and the mozzarella is salty and stringy. And of course the pesto, with that bite of flavor. I was pleased to see that a little went a long way, and I only did five or six layers. Even if you have two layers, this will be good!
Please enjoy, friends! xoxo