The Day After: Pesto

I know, you've probably all eaten your body weight in treats, ham and gooey goodness by now, but I had to share a-not-so-light recipe with you. It's traditional, I guess, to start off the post-Christmas season with light, healthy foods, but it's so darn cold, I still think we need these stick-to-your-bones dishes to get us through.

Remember how I mentioned that my sister and I made a book for Gran Fran with her recipes and my photos? Well, here is another

recipe from that project, Lasagna Geonvese. I've not made many lasagna's in my time, but figured I should give this one a go since it's different than any others I've had.

I, of course, don't eat gluten or dairy, so I only had a small taste of this. It was superb. You could adjust this easily with gluten-free noodles, but I'm not a fan of non-dairy cheese, so can't recommend anything on that front.

OK, back to the recipe. It was really fun to make. Lots of steps, as I've mentioned before, but the potatoes and pesto really made this dish stand out from your traditional lasagna. I love the colors, too, since it's a little unexpected to see a green lasagna. I do have to say, though, I don't recall when Gran Fran may have made this for us.

I do remember her excellent Pesto, and know that when we were in Italy in 1989 we did have a lasagna with pesto and potatoes in it. Yes, that's right, I (and probably Gran Fran, too) can probably recall every dish we ate that month in Italy. The fried bread (savory and salty) is one thing I have yet to be able to recreate in my own kitchen.

Enjoy a piece of this right out of the oven.

original recipe courtesy of Fran Claro of The Italian Pantry

Lasagna Genovese

Serves ten


  • 3 cups basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, roughly grated
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2   teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Dried red pepper flakes to taste
  1. In blender or food processor, pulse all ingredients, until sauce is thick and creamy.
  2. Add more oil if necessary.
  3. Set aside.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  • 1 pound curly edge lasagna noodles
  • 10 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed, salted, thinly sliced, steamed until tender
  • 1 pound green beans, sliced on the bias, salted, steamed 5 minutes
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, coarsely grated
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta, drained
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Pesto
  1.  Boil noodles in salted water, according to package directions, drain well.
  2.  Blend mozzarella, ricotta, and eggs with parsley;  salt and pepper to taste.
  3.  Layer pesto, noodles, green beans, pesto, grated cheese, potatoes, blended cheeses, pesto.
  4.  Continue stacking ingredients in the same order, ending with noodles, pesto, and a sprinkling of Parmigiano.
  5. Cover loosely with aluminum foil; bake 35  minutes; remove foil; bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Let rest 15 to 20 minutes before serving.