Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spinach Arugula Pesto Lasagna

The first time I had pesto lasagna, I was in Rome.  It was amazing.  The kind of experience that ruins regular lasagna for you.  Handmade, fresh pasta, pesto, cheese...hello, lover.  I tried to duplicate it when I got home, but it just didn't work.  So this week, when our CSA share came in and we had arugula, garlic scapes, and spinach, I found a recipe for arugula pesto in Dishing Up Maryland.  I modified their pesto recipe a bit, and then was going to just do boring pasta, but we had lasagna noodles and I thought pesto lasagna might just be the ticket for a celebratory dinner after my first day on the new job.

Lasagna takes a long time to prep, so I probably shouldn't have decided that.  This recipe is inspired by a Cooking from the Garden recipe that we made for Valentine's Day and we didn't eat until nearly 10pm that night. Nonetheless, here is a great recipe for using up a whole heap-ton of veggies.  We were lucky to get ALL of Sister Barefoot's arugula (and far too selfish to share any of the delicious lasagna), but all is still a bunch, not a specific amount, so guesses are approximate here for quantities.

For pesto:
1 bunch arugula
1/2 bunch spinach
4-6 garlic scapes (can probably use whole cloves of garlic)
1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted at 350 for 10 minutes
olive oil

For lasagna:
8-10 no-bake lasagna noodles
2 cups parmesean cheese
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Wash all greens, put in a food processor.  Process until chopped up into tiny bits.  Add pine nuts.  Add olive oil until it looks like pesto.  
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes until smooth.  Add milk.  Stir frequently, wait for it to thicken.  
  3. While waiting for the sauce to thicken, soak the lasagna noodles in water.  
  4. Once sauce has thickened, line the bottom of an 8x8 pan with noodles.  Add pesto.  Add cheese.  Pour sauce over top.  Add more noodles, pesto, cheese, and sauce, until done.  If you run out of sauce at the top, just grate on some more cheese. 
  5. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes with foil, and then another 15 without foil.  (Our 8x8 pan actually fits into the toaster oven, which cooks it much faster and doesn't create as much heat in the kitchen on really hot summer days, so that's another thing to love about this recipe.)  
Enjoy!  I would be interested in making this recipe with additional vegetables and maybe not quite so much cheese.  I was thinking zucchini or roasted eggplant, but what new and interesting vegetables would go well here?  

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